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'' The Kaiser was nttired in his moil magnificent coslume, wearing the 

famous winged helmet on Ills liead, and surrounded by a galaxy of | 
ministers and great oflicers, all arrayed in the utmost military. 

Secret History of 


Being Revelations of a Diplomatic Spy 


Allen Upward 

Author of "SecRtaof the Courti of Europe " 
" TreaioD," etc. 

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G. P. Putnam's Sons 

New York and London 

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' * The Kaiser was attired in his most magnifioent oostome, 
wearing the famous winged helmet on his head, and 
surrounded by a galaxy of ministers and great officers, 
all arrayed in the utmost military splendour.** 


" A glance at the cheval glass showed me a stiff, well set- 
up Prussian offidal." 10 

'* ' I have sent for you, in two words, to find out for me 
the authorship of this telegram,' the Kaiser said.** 12 

*<*MyQodI*hecriedout. *¥rho has done this? I shall 
be ruined!*** 88 

** * We shall find out whether he is a priest,' was the 
retort.** 46 

''She would talk about her convent.** .... 48 

" ' Father Kehler has been good enough to visit a poor 
sailor who is lying sick on board,* he said, in a tone 
evidently meant to rebuke my impertinence.** . . 50 

*"A8 to that— impossible I' he exclaimed with vigour. 

' That is our secret— ours, you understand.' ** . .08 

" * Am I under arrest too ? * Prince Pierre demanded with 

some indignation.** 78 

** The Tter now interposed in a tone of more authori^ 
than I had ventured to hope for. * Do you suggest, 

M. v. , that the whole staff of the French army 

are engaged in a conspiracy to forge documents?' ** 88 




« < Your Majesty must judge me by what I have done al- 
ready. Two days ago you had never heard my name. 
Now I am here, alone with you, with a loaded re- 
volver in my pocket.' The Sultan started violently." 98 

« It was a singular scene, as I stood there laying down pile 
after pile of greasy ten-thousand-rouble notes on a 
richly inlaid table.** 106 

<* There at my feet, along the widening valley, lay a 
double line of rails, and all across the level space 
stretched low banks and ditches— the lines of a vast 
encampment, amiable of accommodating half a mil- 
lion men." 110 

« I walked past him without a word." .... 136 

<" I am not under anybody's orders,' I said, rising to my 
ftoet." 180 

** * You are free,' he said briefly. ' The right man has 
been arrested, too late.' " 144 

" ' Let me see your warrant,' I said." .... 158 

'* He bent forward to listen, and as he did so I launched 
my clenched fist at his right temple with my full 

force." 164 


" I watched the brave monarch read it through from be- 
ginning to end without one manifestation of dismay." 168 

" Finally he turned his back without a word, and rushed 
from the room." 176 

" William IL strode to me, seized me by the shoulders, 
and thrust me out of the room." 188 

** ' Will you permit me to ask you,' he said poUtely, ' if 
you have ever done any business on behalf of the Bm- 
peror of Austria-Hungary?'" 192 

** The Emperor could not repress a slight start " . 198 
<< I rode right over him." 21d 



*' I took oat my loaded revolver, cocked it, and advanced 
to the threshold." , . 383 

" Queen Draga cast herself on the manimate form on the 
bed, 'Concealed the face in her arms, and allowed her- 
self to be stabbed by a dozen bayonets." ... 340 

« * V 1 * he exclaimed, drawing back as if he had been 

stung." 350 

*' ' Arrest that man t ' the Kaiser commanded, without 
giving him time to speak." 366 

*' ' Now,* said the Kaiaer, stepping close to my side, ' tell 
me the truth — ^the real truth, mind— and I will spare 
your life.'" 358 

*' I am going to ask you to undertake a service of an un- 
usual kind." 366 


My visitor started as she heard her name, and threw 
up her veil with a gesture of astonishment and indig- 
nation." 374 


I was stopped at the barricade by a pompous sergeant 
of police." 380 

** The chief detective came close up to me, put his mouth 
to my ear, and whispered, *Le drapeau blane / ' " . 384 

'^IfoundtheCardinalabsorbedin the inspection of his . 

newly arrived treasures." 396 

** Saddened and subdued, I quitted the audience chamber 
of Pius X." 806 


I can only render one more service to your Majesty, and 
that is to advise you to make your peace with the 
Black Pope.' 808 


The initials under which I write these confessions 
are not those of my real name, which I could not 
disclose without exposing myself to the revenge of 
formidable enemies. As it is, I run a very great 
risk in making revelations which affect some of the 
most powerful personages now living; and it is only 
by the exercise of the utmost discretion that I can 
hope to avoid giving offence in quarters in which 
the slightest disrespect is apt to have serious 

If I should be found to err on the side of frank- 
ness, I can only plead in excuse that I have never 
yet betrayed the confidence placed in me by the 
various €k)vemments and illustrious families which 
have employed me from time to time. The late 
Prince Bismarck once honoured me by saying: 

'To tell secrets to Monsieur Y is like putting 

them into a strong box, with the certainty that 
they will not come out again until one wants 
them to/ 



In these reminiscences it is my object to recount 
some of the services I have rendered to civilisation 
in the course of my career, while abstaining as fietr 
as possible from compromising exalted individuals 
or embittering international relations. 

That I am not a man who opens his mouth rashly 
may be gathered from the fact that, although at any 
time diuring the long struggle between Briton and 
Boer for the mastery in South Africa, I might have 
completely changed the situation with a word, that 
word was not uttered while a single Boer remained 
under arms. 

In order to explain how I came to be conqemed 
in this affikir, I had better begin by giving ft few 
particulars about myself, and the almost unique 
position which I hold among the secret service 
bureaus of Europe and America. 

By birth I am a citizen of the United States of 
America^ being the son of a Polish father, exiled on 
account of his political opinions, and a French 
mother. From my childhood I showed ai^ extra- 
ordinary aptitude for languages, so that there is 
now scarcely a civilised country outside Portugal 
and Scandinavia in which I am not able to converse 
with the natives in their own tongue. At the same 
time, I was possessed, ever since I can remember, 
with a passion for intrigue and mystery. The 
romances of Qaboriau were the favourite reading 


of my boyhood, and it was my ambition to become 
a famous detectiye, the Yidocq of America. 

Fired by these visions, I ran away from the 
insurance office in which my parents had placed 
me, when I was little more than sixteen, and applied 
for admission to the ranks of the famous Finkerton 
Police. Although my youth was against me, my 
phenomenal command of languages turned the scale 
in my favoiur, and I was given a trial 

Very soon I had opportunities of distinguishing 
myself in more than one mission to Eiurope, on the 
track of absconding criminals; and in this way I 
earned the £ftyourable notice of the heads of the 
detective police in London, Paris, Berlin, and other 

* At length, finding that I possessed unique quali- 
fications for the work of an international secret 
agent, I decided to quit the Pinkerton service, and 
set up for myself, making my headquarters in Paris. 
From that day to this I have had no cause to repent 
of my audacity. I have been employed at one time 
or another by nearly every Government in the world, 
and my clients have included nearly every crowned 
head, from the late Queen Victoria to the Dowager 
Empress of China. I have been sent for on the 
same day by the Ambassadors of two hostile Powers, 
each of which desired to employ me against the 


On one occasion I acted on behalf of a &mouB 
German Chancellor against his then master, and 
on another on behalf of the Emperor against his 
Chancellor; and neither had cause to complain of 
my fidelity. I have been instrumental in freeing 
a Queen renowned for her beauty from the perse- 
oution of a blackmailer set on by a foreign court; 
and I have more than once detected and defeated 
the plots of anarchists for the assassination of their 

In this way it has come about that I enjoy the 
friendship and confidence of many illustrious person- 
ages, whose names would excite envy were I at 
liberty to mention them in these pages; and that 
few events of any magnitude happen in any part 
of the globe without my being in some measure 
concerned in them. 

Often, when some great affair h^s been proceed- 
ing, I have felt myself as occupying the position 
of the stage manager, who looks on from the wings, 
directing the entrances and exits of the gorgeously 
dressed performers who engrosn the attention and 
applause of the ignorant spectators on the other 
side of the footlights. 

The true story of the famous telegram which may 
be said to have rendered the South African War 
inevitable is one which strikingly illustrates the 


extent to which the public may be deceiTcd about 
the most important transactions of contemporary 

Every one is familiar with the situation created 
by that celebrated despatch. For some time pre- 
viously all England, and, in fact, all Europe, had 
been agitated by the intelligence that Johannesburg 
was on the eve of insurrection, that the Boers were 
drawing their forces together about the doomed city, 
that Dr. Jameson had dashed across the frontier with 
five hundred followers in a mad attempt to come to 
the aid of the threatened Outlanders, and that his 
action had been formally disavowed by the British 

Close on the heels of these tidings came the 
memorable day on which London was cast into 
gloom by long streams of placards issuing from 
ihe newspaper offices bearing the dismal legend, 
' Jameson Beaten and a Prisoner ! ' 

While the populace were yet reeling under the 
blow, divided between distress at this humiliation 
for the British flag, and indignation at the criminal 
recklessness which had staked the country's honour 
on a gambler's throw, there came the portentous 
news that the head of the great German Empire, 
the grandson of Queen Victoria, had sent a public 
message of congratulation to the Boer President, 
rejoicing with him in the face of the world over an 


event which every Englishman felt as a national 

That hour registered the doom of the Pretorian 
(Government. Jameson was scornfully forgotten. 
The British people, as proud as it is generous, made 
up its mind that the forbearance so long extended 
to a vassal of its own, could no longer be shown 
with honour to the proUgi of a mighty European 

On the very day on which this celebrated despatch 
appeared as the chief item of news in all the news- 
papers of the world, I received an urgent cipher 
message from the Director of the Imperial Secret 
Service, Herr Finkelstein, demanding my presence 
in Berlin. 

My headquarters, as I have said, are in Paris, and 
fortunately I was disengaged when the summons 
arrived. I had merely to dictate a few dozen wires 
to my staff, while my valet was strapping up the 
portmanteau which always stands ready packed in 
my dressing-room, and to look out my jGrerman 
passport — for I have a separate one for every 
important nationality — and in an hour or two I 
was seated in the Berlin express, speeding towards 
the frontier. 

From the bunch of papers which my attentive 
secretary had thrust into the carriage, I learned 
something of the effect which the German Emperor's 


interference in the affairs of South Africa had 
produced on the public mind in England. It was 
evident that the Islanders were strongly roused, 
and were preparing to pick up the gage of battle 
which had been thrown down. No sooner had I 
reached ^German territory than I found evidences 
of an even greater excitement. The whole nation 
seemed to have rallied round the Eaiser, and to be 
ready to back up his words with martial deeds. 

By this time I had little doubt that I had been 
sent for in connection with the outbreak of hostile 
feeling between the two Powers. But it was im- 
possible for me to anticipate the actual nature of 
the task which awaited me. 

On reaching Berlin I was met by a private 
emissary of FinkeLstein's, who hurried me off to 
the Director's private house. The first words with 
which he greeted me convinced me that the business 
I had come about was of no ordinary kind. 

'Do not sit down/ he said to me, as I was about 
to drop into a chair, after shaking hands with him. 
'I must ask you to come to my dressing-room at 
once, where you will transform yourself as quickly 
as possible into an officer of the Berlin Police. The 
moment that is done, I am to conduct you to the 
Palace, where his Majesty will see you alone.' 

Ab I followed the Director into the dressing-room, 
where I found a imiform suit laid out ready for my 


wearing, I naturally asked : ' Can you tell me what 
this is about ? ' 

Finkelstein shook his head with a mysterious air. 

' The Kaiser has told me nothing. But he warned 
me very strictly not to let a single creature in Berlin 
know of your arrival, and from that £EU>t I have 
naturally drawn certain conclusions.' 

I gazed at Finkelstein with some suspicion. We 
were good friends, having worked together on more 
than one occasion, and I knew he would have no 
wish to keep me in the dark. On the other hand, 
if he had been instructed to do so, I knew he would 
not hesitate to lie to me. The secret service has 
its code of honour, like other professions, and fidelity 
to one's employer comes before friendship. 

Keeping my eye fixed on him, I observed 
carelessly — 

' You wUl tell me just as much or as little as you 
think fit, my dear Finkelstein. On my part I shall, 
of course, exercise a similar discretion after his 
Imperial Majesty has given me my instructions.' 

As I expected, the bait took. Curiosity is the 
besetting weakness of a secret service officer, and 
the Berlin Director was no exception to the rule. 
Putting on his most confidential manner, he at once 
replied — 

' My dear V , if you and I do not trust each 

other, whom can we trust? Best assured that my 


confidence in you has no reserves. I haye spoken 
the bare truth in saying that the Eaiser has given 
me no indication of his object in sending for you. 
But the &ct that he has ordered me to take these 
precautions to conceal the fact of your arrival in 
Berlin tells me plainly that there is a person whom 
he wishes to keep in ignorance ; and that person can 
only be ' 

'The Chancellor?" I threw in, as my companion 

Finkelstein nodded. 

'Tou consider, perhaps, that it is against the 
Chancellor that I am to be employed ? ' I went on. 

' It looks like it/ was the cautious answer. 

'And the reason why this task is not placed in 
your hands ? ' 

'Is because I am a native of Hanover, and the 
Kaiser regards me rather as a public official than 
« » personal servant of his own dynasty.' said 

' In other words, he regards you as a creature of 
the Chancellor's,' I commented bluntly. 

The Director made a pleasing and ingenious 
attempt to blush. 

' I can only affirm to you, on my sacred word of 
honour, that his Majesty has no cause to trust me 
any less than if I were a Prussian,' he declared. 
'And I shall take it as a personal kindness if you 


will endeavour to conyince the Kaiser of my 

' I will take care that he knows your sentiments/ 
I answered, with an ambiguity which Finkelstein 
fbrtimately did not remark. 

By this time I had completed my transformation. 
A glance at the cheval glass showed me a sti£f, 
well-set-up Prussian official, exhaling the very 
atmosphwe of Junkerdom and sauerkraut. I gave 
the signal to depart, and we were quickly driving 
up the Unter den Linden on our way to the Imperial 

'Announce to his Majesty — the Herr Director 
Finkelstein and the Herr Inspector Yehm,' my 
companion said to the doorkeeper. 

A servant, who had evidently received special 
instructions, stepped forward. 

' The Herr Inspector is to be taken to his Majesty 
at once,' he said firmly. 

Finkelstein bit his lip as he unwillingly turned 
to re-enter his carriage. I followed the lackey 
into the private cabinet of the monarch who had 
just found himself the centre of an international 

Wilhelm II. received me cordially. It was not the 
first time we had met About the time of his ascend- 
ing the throne I had been the means of inflicting on 
him a defeat which a smaller man would have found 

A glance at Ihe cheval , 

fnis^ian official." 

•liH, wtU s*\.uYi 


:^ K 

1-- .^ 

■ I 

i . 


it hard to foigiva Fortunately, the German Kaiser 
was of metal sterling enough to recognise merit even 
in an enemy, and to realise that my fidelity to my 
then employer was the best guarantee that I should 
be equally faithful to himself, if it feU to my lot to 

'What has Finkelstein told you?' was the 
Emperor^s first question, after he had graciously 
invited me to sit down. 

' Only that he was able to tell me nothing, sira' 

The Emperor gave me a suspicious glance. 

'He appeared to regret that your Majesty had not 
given him your confidence,' I added, choosing my 
words warily. ' He assured me that you might rely 
on his entire devotion, as much so as if he were a 
native of your hereditary States.' 

* And what do you say as to that ? ' demanded the 
E^aiser, with a piercing look 

* I think that your Majesty cannot be too careful 
whom you trust.' 

Wilhelm II. allowed himself to smile gravely. 

'I see, Monsieur V , that you are a prudent 

man. If Herr Finkelstein wishes to convince me of 
his loyalty to the Hohenzollems, he cannot begin 
better than by renouncing the pension which he 

continues to draw secretly from the Duke of / 

His Majesty pronoimced the name by which a 
well-known dispossessed sovereign goes in his exila 


Familiar as I long have been with instances of 
perfidy in others, I could not restrain an exclamation 
of astonishment at this revelation of Finkelstein's 
double dealing. The Kaiser continued — 

* After that you will not be surprised if I caution 
you particularly against letting Herr Finkelstein 
know anything of the object of the inquiry I wish 
you to undertake.' 

I bowed respectfully, and waited with some im- 
patience to learn the true nature of my mission. 

' I could not receive you here without taking some 
one into the secret of your employment/ the Kaiser 
went on to explain ; ' and I chose Finkelstein in order 
to give the affair as much as possible the aspect of a 
private and domestic matter. In reality the task I 
have to set you is one of the most grave in which 
you have ever been engaged.' 

The Kaiser took one of the Berlin papers of the 
day before, which was lying on the desk in front of 
him, and pointed to a column in which was set out 
in conspicuous type the telegram which had con- 
vulsed Europe and Africa, and had already caused 
Lord Salisbury to issue orders for the mobilisation of 
his Flying Squadron. 

'I have sent for you, in two words, to find out 
for me the authorship of this telegram/ the Kaiser 

Notwithstanding my long training in the most 



■V A 

— . J 



tortuous paths of secret intrigue, I was fairly taken 
aback by this announcement 

' That telegram ! ' I could only exclaim. ' The one 
which your Majesty addressed to President Eruger ! ' 

*/ Tiever aerU it,' Wilhelm II. declared gravely. 
' It is a forgery pure and simple.' 

For a moment I sat still in my chair, almost 
unable to think. 

'But what ? But who ?' I articulated, 

struggling with my bewilderment. 

'That is what you have got to find out for me,' 
was the answer. ' Let me tell you all I know. The 
first intimation I had of the existence of such a 
thing was the sight of it in the Press. I sent in- 
stantly for the Chancellor, who came here wearing a 
reproachful expression, and evidently prepared to 
complain bitterly of my having taken such a step 
without previously informing him. When I told him 
that the whole thing was an impudent fabrication, 
he could scarcely believe his ears. In fact, for some 
time I believe he was inclined to consider my repu- 
diation of it as a mere official denial' 

I ventured to raise my eyes to his Majesty's as I 
observed — 

'Your Majesty has taken no steps to make your 
repudiation public ? ' 

The Kaiser gave an angry frown. 

' That is the serious part of the a£fair,' he answered. 


' Kruger, in his eagerness to proclaim to the world 
that I was on his side, had sent copies of this 
infiskQious production to every newspaper in the two 
hemispheres before it reached my eye& At the 
moment when I first saw it, it had already been read 
and commented upon all round the globe. The 
British newspapers were already threatening war, 
and my own people had been excited to a pitch of 
enthusiasm such as no other act of mine has ever 
called forth. You see the position I was placed in. 
If I were now to disavow this forgery, my dis- 
avowal would be received everywhere with the 
same scepticism as was felt even by my own 
Chancellor. The British would triumph over me, 
and my own subjects would never forgive me for 
what they would regard as a surrender to Britisli 

I sat silent. I realised the full difficulty of tlie 
Kaiser's position. He was committed in spite of 
himself to the act of some impostor, whose real 
motives were yet to be discovered, but who had 
already succeeded in bringing the two greatest 
Powers of Europe to the verge of war. 

' Before I can undo the mischief which has been 
done,' the Emperor proceeded, 'I must first of all 
ascertain from what quarter this forgery emanated. 
When I have obtained that information, backed by 
clear and convincing proofis, it may be possible for 


me to satisfy the British Government that they 
and I have been the victims of a conspiracy. If 
you can succeed in furnishing me with those proofs, 
it shall be the best day's work you ever did in your 

I listened carefully to these words, scrutinising 
them for any trace of a double meaning. It was 
impossible for me to dismiss entirely from my mind 
that suspicion which the story told by Wilhelm IL 
was naturally calculated to excite. I asked myself 
whether the Kaiser was really in earnest, or whether 
he was not inviting me, in a delicate fashion, to 
extricate him from the consequences of his own 
rashness, by putting together some fictitious account 
of the origin of the telegram, which might impose 
on Lord Salisbury. 

It was clearly necessary, however, for me to appear 
to be convinced. 

' May I ask if your Majesty's suspicions point in 
any particular direction ? ' I asked, tiying to feel my 
way cautiously. 'The President of the Boers is 

The Kaiser interrupted me. 

' I do not think Kruger would dare to provoke me 
by such a trick. He would know that he would be 
the first to suffer when it was found out. No, I am 
convinced that we must look, nearer home for the 


Something in the Emperor's tone struck me as 

'If you could give me any indication of the 
person * I ventured to throw out 

His Majesty looked at me fixedly as he answered — 

' Does it not occur to you, Monsieur Y , that 

there is in my Empire a powerful family, the heads 
of which seem at one time to have cherished the 
notion that the HohenzoUems could not reign 
without them, a family which aspired to play the 
same part in modem Grermany which was played 
by the Mayors of the Palace in the Empire of the 
Merovingians ? ' 

'You allude, sire, without doubt, to the Bis- 
marcks ? ' 

'My grandfather was forced into war with the 
French by a forged telegram. There would be 
nothing surprising in an attempt from the same 
quarter to force me into a war with England' 

I had no answer to make to such reasoning. 
Daring as such a manoeuvre might appear, it was 
absurd, in the face of historical facts, to pronounce 
it improbable. 

After a minute spent in considering the situation, 
I turned to the question of how the fraud might 
have been carried out. 

It was quite clear to me that such a message 
could not have gone over the ordinary wires. The 


despatcheB of Emperon are not, as a rule, handed in 
over the counter of a post-office, like a telegram from 
a husband announcing that he is prevented from 
dining at home. I asked the Kaiser to explain to 
me the system pursued with regard to Imperial 

'That is a matter about which you will be able to 
learn more from the Chancellor than from me/ was 
the answer. 'Foreign despatches go through the 
ChiknceUery, and there is a staff of telegraphists 
there to deal with them. The wire goes direct to the 
Central Telegraph Office, I believe, from which it 
would, of course, find its way to the Cable Company.' 

'Then this fabrication must have been sent from 
the Oiancellery in the first instance?' I inquired. 
'It could not have been received at the Central 
Office from an outside source ? ' 

' Impossibla They would not dare to transmit a 
message in my name which had not reached them 
through one of the authorised channels.' 

Tlfis was the reply I had expected But I did not 
£ul to mark the admission that there was more than 
one channel through which the forgery might have 
come. I was quick to ask — 

' Is there not some other source from which this 
telegram may have reached them besides the Chan- 
cellery ? Your Majesty, no doubt, has a private wire 
from the Palace.' 



The Kaiser looked a little put out. 

'That is so, of course/ he conceded. 'But that 
wire is used only for my personal messages, and those 
of the Imperial £Etmily.' 

'Still, a message received over this wire, and 
couched in your name, would be accepted at the 
Central Office, would it not ? ' I persisted. 

'Undoubtedly. But the Palace operator, a man 
who works under the eye of my secretary, would not 
dare to play me such a trick, which, he would be 
aware, must be detected immediately. Take my 

advice. Monsieur Y , waste no time over side 

paths, but go direct to the Chancellor, and commence 
your perquisitions among his staff' 

I bowed respectfully, as though accepting this plan 
of campaign. But, as I withdrew from the Emperor's 
cabinet, the doubt pressed more strongly than ever 
upon my mind whether I was not being asked to 
play a part I half expected to find everything pre- 
pared for me at the Chancellery, prearranged clues 
leading to the detection of a culprit who would recite 
a confession which had been put into his mouth 

I was perfectly willing to perform my part in the 
comedy in a manner satisfactory to my employer, 
but all the same I meant to keep my eyes open, 
and not to let myself be the victim of a deception 
intended for English consumption. 


In this mood I presented myself before the 
Chancellor. As soon as the Imperial autograph 
introducing me had met his eye, his Excellency 
threw aside, or pretended to throw aside, all 

'I am delighted to find the Emperor has placed 

this business in your hands, Monsieur Y / he 

said obligingly. 'Your reputation is well known 
to me, and I am convinced that you will be perfectly 
discreet. The Emperor is, of course, thoroughly 
taken aback by the results of his unfortunate im- 
pulse, and wishes to relieve himself of the re- 
sponsibility he has incurred. In that I am quite 
willing to help him, but not at my own expense, 
you understand.' 

I murmured something about the Bismarcks. His 
Excellency gave a smile of contempt. 

' All that is absurd,' he rapped out. ' The Emperor 
is quite foolish about that family, which possesses 
no more influence to-day than any Pomeranian 
squire. No, if his Majesty wants a victim he 
ought to be content with one of his own stafil I 
refuse to allow the Imperial Chancellery to be 
discredited in the eyes of Europe.' 

This reception, so unlike what I had anticipated, 
made me begin to think that my inquiry would have 
to be serious. After a little further conversation 
with the Chancellor I decided to go to work regularly 


beginning by tracing the Imperial telegnm back 
from the Central Office. 

The Chancellor readily fiirmBhed me with the 
necessary authority to produce to the Director <^ 
the Tel^aph Service, to whom I had merdy to 
explain that I had been instructed to verify the 
exact wording of the now &mous despatch. 

It is unnecessary for me to detail my interview 
with this functionary, whose share in the business 
was purely formal. Suffice it that within a quarter 
of an hour idler entering his office, I came out with 
the all-important information that the congratula- 
tion to Mr. Kruger had come direct from the 
Imperial Palace, over the EJuser'a private wira 

By this time it was clear to me that either 
Wilhelm II. was playing a very complicated game 
indeed with me, or he reaUy was the victim of 
one of the most audacious coups in history. Hy 
interest in the investigation was strongly rooaed, as 
I made my way to the Palace for the second time 
that day, bent upon a meeting with the telegraphist 
by wbcffie agency, it now appeared, the war-making 
despatch had come over the wires. 

My recent audience in the Imperial cabinet had 
invested me with authority in the eyes of the 
household, and I had no difficulty in getting a 
footman to conduct me to the operator's room, which 
was situated at the far end of the corridor which 


I had previously passed through on my way to the 

The room being empty on my arrival, I dismissed 
the footnum in search of the operator^ who, he in- 
formed me, would most probably be found with the 
private secretary to the Emperor. 

The moment I foimd myself alone I stepped up to 
the apparatus. I am an expert telegraphist, and the 
machine speedily clicked off the following despatch — 

* To the Oerman Ambassador, London. — See Lord 
SaUtbwry privately , at once, and inform him British 
Oovemment entirdy deceived as to my sentiments. 
Proofs will be sent to you shortly. — Wilhelh, 

I had hardly taken my fingers off the instrument 
when the door opened and the operator walked in. 

Herr Zeiss — I heard this name at the Central 
Office — appeared to me to be a simple-minded man, 
more likely to be the victim of a conspiracy than 
himself a conspirator. I thought it my best plan to 
assume an air of omniscience at the outset. 

' How is this, sir ! ' I demanded with some stern- 
ness. 'Do your instructions permit you to leave 
this instrument unguarded for any person who 
pleases to send his own messages over the Emperor's 
private wire ? ' 

The telegraphist stared at me with a mixture of 
sorprise and alarm. 


'I don't know who has authorised you, Herr 
Inspector * he began, when I cut him short 

' Am I to go to his Majesty, and ask him if you 
have permission to leave this room when you 
please, without taking any precautions against the 
unauthorised use of the wire ? ' 

Herr Zeiss quickly changed his tone. 

' That is not a thing of which I am ever guilty/ he 

' You have been guilty of it just now,' I retorted. 

' I have not been away two minutes. No one 
could have taken advantage of my absence.' 

' Nevertheless, advantage has been taken of your 

* I don't believe it ! ' 

' Ask the Central Office to r^eat the message you 
have just sent them, then.' 

Casting a frightened look at me, the man com- 
plied. I have seldom seen an expretoion of deeper 
astonishment and terror on a man's face than that 
which marked the unfortunate operator's as my 
despatch came back to him, word after word, ending 
with the Imperial signature. 

' My God ! ' he cried out. ' Who has done this ? 
I shall be ruined ! ' 

' Whether you are ruined or not depends entirely 
on yourself,' I said sharply. ' It is in my power to 
save you, but only upon one condition.' 

i ^ ;.■ '-1 - 

r \. r 



Herr Zeiss turned on me a gaze of mute appeal. 

' Tou must tell me the exact truth/ I proceeded, 
'and you must tell me everything. How often have 
you left this room without taking precautions against 
the misuse of the wire in your absence during the 
last two days ? ' 

Zeiss considered for a moment. Then his face 
brightened up. 

'Not once, I can assure you positively of that, 
Herr Inspector.' 

This answer, given so confidently, came as a severe 
check to me. I looked at the man sternly, as I 
responded, with assumed confidence — 

' And I am positive that you are mistaken. An 
unauthorised use has been made of this wire, and I 
am determined to know by whom.' 

The operator's face fell once more. He appeared 
to me to be honestly at a loss. 

' Come,' I put in, ' think again. Begin by recalling 
any occasions on which you have been called away 
hurriedly, and have perhaps omitted to lock the door.' 

' But there has beep no such occasion. I swear to 
you that I have not once left this room without 
taking ample precautions.' 

I fiEmcied I discerned a touch of hesitation, 
rather in the operator's tone than in his actual words. 

' Speak more plainly,' I said. ' What do you mean 
by precautions ? ' 


'Either the door was locked, or else * This 

time the hesitation was palpable. 

* Or else what ? ' 

'It was left in the charge of a trustworthy 

' And that trustworthy person, who was he ? ' I 
found it hard to suppress aU signs of excitement as I 
put this question. 

* The gentleman who will shortly be my brother- 

' Ah I Perhaps this gentleman is an employee in 
the same department as yourself ? ' 

' Not at all/ Zeiss protested earnestly. ' He is a 
teacher in the Military College. He knows nothing 
of telegraphy ; in fact, he has sometimes asked me 
questions on the subject which have conyinced 
me that he is quite a fool where electricity is 

' Indeed I And the name of this foolish person, if 
you please ? ' 

' Herr Seyerinski.' 

' A Pole I ' I exclaimed. 

'No, a Russian. He was exiled to Siberia on 
account of his political opinions, but escaped. He 
teaches Russian in the college.' 

'How did he come to be left in charge of this 

' He called here the day before yesterday^ in the 


evening, to speak to me about his marriage with my 
sister. They have been engaged for some time, you 
must know. While he was here I received a note 
from my sister herself, pressing me to come and 
speak to her at once outside the Palace. I went, 
leaving my brother-in-law to wait here during my 
absence. My sister, I found, merely wished to urge 
me not to object to any proposal made by her 
betrothed. On my return I found Severinski 
yawning and apparently bored to death in my 
absence. I asked him, and he assured me no one 
had come near the room while I was away.' 

I could scarcely resist smiling as the whole 
intrigue, so simple, and yet so consummately suc- 
cessful, lay bared to my perception. My whole 
anxiety now was to keep the worthy but stupid 
Zeiss ignorant of the transaction in which he had 
been an unwitting accomplice. 

I brought him away from the Palace with me, 
to as to leave him no opportunity of warning 
Severinski, and we proceeded together to the 
Russian's quarters. I flatter myself that the pro- 
fessor of the Military College was not a little dis- 
concerted when he saw his dupe followed into the 
room by an Inspector of the Berlin Police. 

I explained my position in such a manner as to 
let Severinski see that I knew everything, without 
enlightening the other man. 


^The day before yesterday Herr Zeiss left you 
alone in his room in the Palace. You took the 
opportunity to send a telegram, the terms of which 
are known to me, over the Emp^r's priyate wire. 
For this offence you and he are liable to severe 
punishment. What I now have to propose to you 
is to make a confession which will have the effect of 
exonerating every one except yoursell If you do 
this, I think I can promise you that you shall suffer 
no penalty beyond, of course, the loss of your post in 
the Military College.' 

Severinski gave me a glance of intelligence. 

' You do not require me to denounce anybody else ? ' 
he inquired significantly. 

' I do not require you to confess what is obvious 
to every one,' I returned with equal significance. 

Poor Zeiss followed this exchange with an air of 
bewilderment. It was evident that the discovery 
of the other's guilt had caused a shock to his con- 
fiding nature, and he was still trying to reconcile 
the Russian's prompt surrender to me with his 
previous stupidity on questions of electrical science, 
when I sununarily dismissed him from further share 
in the interview. 

As soon as we were by ourselves Severinski spoke 
out boldly enough. 

* I am quite willing to give you a statement that I 
sent the telegram. But I am not going to tell you 


anything more. You must know that I am an 

I wayed my hand scornfully. 

'If I consent to your suppressing the truth, 
Professor Severinski, it does not follow that I 
am willing to listen to absurd fictions. Be good 
enough to write out and sign a circumstantial 
account of your own part in this clumsy plot, and 
I will undertake that you shall not pass to-night 
in prison.' 

The Russian had the sense to do what he was 
told without further parley. I got from him more 
than I expected. He consented to put in writing 
that it was after his betrothal to Fraiilein Zeiss 
that he had been solicited to make use of his con- 
nection with the Kaiser's private telegraphist, and 
he stated the amount of the bribe, a very heavy one, 
paid him for his services in sending the Imperial 
congratulations to the President of the Transvaal 
We became so friendly over the discussion that 
Severinski, who was bursting with vanity over 
his success, wanted me at last to let him tell 
me too much. I was obliged to order him to be 

* If you tell n;e that you are an agent of a certain 
great Power, I must repeat what you say to the 
Kaiser. Then one of two things will happen. Either 
your Goyemment will avow your action, in which 


case you will be hanged as a spy, or it will disavow 
you, in which case you will pass the rest of your life 
in prison as a criminal lunatic/ 

This menace had all the e£fect which I could have 
desired, and I was satisfied that the Russian would 
now hold his tongue. 

Bidding him a cordial farewell — for I confess the 
fellow's audacity had inspired me with some admira- 
tion — I hastened back to the Palace, to lay the 
results of my investigations before Wilhelm II. 

'Your Majesty has been victimised by a secret 
agent whose employers are interested in bringing 
about a feeling of ill-will, if not an actual war^ be- 
tween Germany and Great Britain. The day before 
yesterday this agent, whose name is Severinski, and 
who is employed to teach Russian' — Wilhebu II. 
started — 'iu the Berlin Military College, visited 
your private telegraphist in the room at the end of 
this corridor. He had previously contrived that 
the telegraphist should be called away during his 
visit, and he took advantage of this absence 
to send the message which has caused so much 

The Kaiser made no reply until he had finished 
reading the proofs I laid before him. 

' And you did not ask this Severinski by whom he 
was set on?' demanded his Majesty, giving me a 
keen glance. 


' I did not know whether you would wish me to do 
so/ 1 answered respectfully. 

* Tou were right, a thousand times right/ exclaimed 
the Emperor. ' As long as they are in doubt whether 
I know it is they who have played me this trick, I 
haye the adyantage of them, and they will keep 
silence for their own sakes/ He paused in deep con- 
sideration for a minute, then he looked up quickly. 
' All this time I must not forget the English. Tell 

me. Monsieur V , are you personally known to 

Lord Salisbury ? ' 

* I haye that honour, sire. On one occasion * 

* Enough ! There is not a moment to lose. Tou 
will leaye Berlin by the first train, and proceed 
straight to the Ambassador's house in London. He 
will take you round to the Prime Minister, and you 
will offer him the proofs which you haye just offered 
me, explaining at the same time that the excited 
state of public feeling in both countries makes it 
impossible for me to take any open action in the 

I bowed and moyed towards the door. 
'I will wire to the Ambassador to expect you/ 
called out the Kaiser. 

* Pardon me, your Majesty has done so already.' 

'I also passed fiye minutes alone in the room of 
Herr Zeiss/ 1 explained. 


In the years which have elapsed since this cele- 
brated episode, Wilhelm 11. has left no means un- 
tried to convince the British people of his friendly 
sentiments towards them. It is as a service to his 
Imperial Majesty, though without authority from 
him, that I now venture to lift the veil from the 
most astounding transaction in the annals of even 
Muscovite diplomacy. 



Although the revelations which haye been made 
already in the British House of Commons have 
thrown some light on the international intrigues 
which complicated the progress of the Cuban War, 
the tragic event which caused the United States to 
draw the sword against Spain has remained a pro- 
found mystery to the present hour. 

The truth concerning the destruction of the United 
States warship Maine^ in the roadstead of Havana, is 
known fully to only two persons now alive. One of 
these two has taken the vow of perpetual silence in 
the monastery of La Trappe, and his name is already 
forgotten by the world. 

I shall cause some surprise, perhaps, when I 
venture to assert that had I left my hotel ten minutes 
earlier on a certain memorable night in the year 
1898, the Spanish flag might still be flying over the 
citadel of Havana. 

The extraordinary adventure which I am going to 

relate had its starting-point in Paris, which is, to a 



large extent, the clearing-house of international 
politics — the diplomatic exchange where the repre- 
sentatives of the Powers meet, and sound each other's 
minds. For this reason the highest post in the 
diplomatic service of every country is still the Paris 
Embassy, although France itself scarcely ranks to- 
day as a Power of the first magnituda 

It is Paris, as every one is aware, which was the 
scene of the long negotiation between the representa- 
tives of the Cuban insurgents and the Oovemment of 
Madrid on the question of the terms to be granted 
by Spain to her discontented colony. In this 
n^otiation it is equally well known that the Cuban 
delegates received the moral support of the United 
States; but it is not generally known that the 
Spanish Government acted throughout in consulta- 
tion with most of the European Powers. 

I was looking on at the negotiation without any 
very great interest, sharing, as I did, in the general 
impression that Spain would give way before long, 
when I was surprised one morning by receiving a 
visit from a very remarkable character. 

Ludwig Kehler was a Bavarian, who had begun 
life as a candidate for the priesthood. A dis- 
graceful affair, the particulars of which I had 
never learned, had caused his dismissal from the 
seminary, and, afber drifting about the world for 
a time, and mixing in very shady company, he 


suddenly appeared in Berlin in the character of a 
police agent 

The exact nature of the services which he rendered 
to the police was a mystery, but I had formed the 
theory that he was employed as a spy on the German 
Catholics, whose attachment to the House of Hohen- 
zollern has always been suspected in Berlin. 

The presence of this man in Paris was in itself an 
unusual event. It did not occur to me to connect it 
with the Spanish- American question, and that for a 
vary simple reason. Germany is the one country in 
Europe which has never possessed a foot of soil in 
the New World. Spain, Portugal, England, France, 
and even Holland and Denmark have planted their 
flags across the Atlantic, but the German Michael 
has been cont^it to remain at home while his neigh- 
bours were colonising the globe. 

I received Eehler coldly. My acquaintance with 
him was a purely professional one, and he was a man 
whom I profoundly distrusted. 

As soon as I could do so, without positive rude- 
ness, I invited him to explain the object of his 

'It is of a confidential nature,' prefaced the 
Bavarian. 'May I assure myself that our con- 
versation will remain a secret between us two ? ' 

I bowed gravely. 

' That is always understood, where I am concerned. 



A man who desires to be trusted must begin by 
establishing a reputation for secrecy/ 

Eehler contented himself with this assurance, dry 
as it was. 

* I thank you, Monsieur V . Your reputation 

is so well established that I had no intention except 
to ask whether you were willing to receive the 
proposals I have come to make ? ' 

* Proceed, Herr Eehler, if you will be so good' 
^You have learnt, no doubt, that the Spanish 

Government has made up its mind to concede the 
terms demanded on behalf of the Cubans by the 
United States ? ' 

Although I was not aware that things had reached 
this point, I did not allow Eehler to see that he had 
given me any information. 

' By this act,' he continued, ' the Americans have, 
in fetct, declared that no European Power has any 
right to enter their hemisphere without their per- 

' All that is well known, Herr Eehler.' 

* The question then arises whether the European 
Powers will allow themselves to be driven out, one 
by one, or whether, by a bold combination, they will 
reduce the United States to some respect for the law 
of nations.' 

' Such a combination would be inopportune at this 
moment, because the British would stand aloof 


'Because they look upon the struggle as one 
between Spaniard and Cuban/ Eehler rejoined 
quickly. 'But let us suppose there to be a war, 
in which the United States was engaged against 

' You have just said there will be no such war.' 

'A war is always possible, provided those interested 
in bringing it about are not too scrupulous.' 

This sinister language at length convinced me that 
the Bavarian had not come to see me for nothing. I 
decided to draw him out. 

' Provided such a war actually commenced, I agree 
that some combination on behalf of Spain might be 
possible,' I murmured, as though reviewing the situa- 
tion in my mind. ' But where is the Gk)vemment 
suflSciently in earnest to undertake so terrible a 
responsibility ? ' 

' It is that Government,' Eehler responded, ' which 
sees its subjects departing in greater numbers every 
year, but which looks around in vain for some un- 
occupied region towards which to direct the stream 
of emigration.' 

' You mean Germany ? ' 

'We look around us,' he continued, scarcely 
noticing my interruption, 'and we see all the con- 
tinents staked out in advance by other Powers : Asia 
by England and Russia, Africa by England and 
France, North America by England and the United 


States, Australia by England alone. There remains 
only South America, in the possession of weak Latin 
races, unable to make use of their advantages, but 
who are protected in their decay by the bullies of 

' A war in which the United States found itself 
fully occupied would be a fine opportunity for the 
German Michael to plant his standard in Brazil or 
the Argentine, I understand.' 

Kehler looked at me earnestly. 

'The man who undertook the task of making 
such a war inevitable, without compromising ex- 
alted personages, would be no loser,' he remarked 

I looked back at the Bavarian before demanding — 

'Have you any definite scheme to put before 

' Until I know that you accept,' he demurred. 

' I do not know that you are accredited,' I reminded 

* What authority do you require ? ' 
' The Imperial autograph simply.' 

* ImpQ3sible.' 

' I am accustomed to be trusted by my employers,' 
I returned decidedly. ' I cannot act under any other 

'That is final r* 

at is final' 


'Then I am afraid I can only ask you to forget 
that I have occupied so much of your time.' 

I allowed Eehler to rise and take his departure 
without making the least sign. The moment he was 
out of hearing I sprang to the telephone and rang up 
the agent of the Sugar Trust 

Herr Kehler's refusal to produce the guarantee for 
which I asked convinced me that he contemplated 
some action of a character doubtful, to say the least, 
if not criminal 

It would have been useless for me to communicate 
my suspicions to the American Minister in Pari& 
The diplomacy of the United States, blunt and self- 
reliant, takes little account of the subterranean in- 
trigue which pervades European politics. But the 
Government of Washington was not the only factor 
concerned As Europe is beginning to learn, the 
Union is a federation, not so much of those geo- 
graphical divisions which are painted in di£ferent 
colours on the map, and called States, but of those 
vast organisations of capital which control the 
American electoral system, and fill the Senate with 
their delegates. Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Virginia, 
Illinois — these are merely names for school children ; 
the Silver Ring, the Steel Trust, the Cotton Trust, 
the Pork Trust — such are the true American 

During the whole of the Cuban negotiation the 


Sugar and Tobacco Trusts had been represented in 
Paris by agents whose object it was to avert an 
annexation of Cuba by the United States, an act 
which would, of course, mean the free admission of 
Cuban sugar and tobacco into the market& Adonijah 
B. Stearine, the Sugar Agent, was a shrewd man, and 
I had no doubt I should find him a ready listener to 
what I had to say. 

Within an hour of Eehler's departure, Mr. Stearine 
was seated in my ofSce. I had to pick my words 
carefully not to break the promise of secrecy into 
which I had been beguiled. 

' I have just seen a secret agent who wanted me to 
help him in some trick to force on a war between 
the States and Spain.' 

Stearine rolled his eyes and whistled thoughtfully. 

• Who sent him ? ' 

' I can't say. He refused to disclose his principal, 
and so I would have nothing to do with him.' 
The Sugar Agent pursed up his lips, and frowned. 

* I guess this is a dodge of Sugg's,' he muttered. 

'You don't say you haven't heard of Bugg-r 
Milk W. Bugg, the Pork Trust's man over here ? 
I reckon Bugg is the smartest man in Chicago, and 
Chicago is the smartest town in the States, and 
the States is the smartest country on earth ; so there 
you ara' 


'The man who came to me is a German/ I 

' Bugg's smartness/ was the comment 

' He wanted me to think he came from Berlin/ 

'Bugg is real smart/ breathed Mr. Stearine with 

It was evident that the agent of the Sugar Trust 
was unable to see past the figure of his rival, which 
filled up his mental horizon. I did not consider it 
worth while to argue the point. 

' The question is, Do you want this to be stopped ? ' 
I said. 

Stearine looked at me with something like surprise. 

* Think you can ? ' he questioned briefly. 

' I know the man who is at work. I can shadow 
him and find out what he is doing.' 

'You will have to be almighty quick about it/ 
retorted the other. 'When did this man get 
away ! ' 

' Only an hour ago/ 

Mr. Stearine gazed at me with a disconcerting 
scrutiny. Then he remarked slowly and em- 
phatically — 

* If this is Bugg's game, and you have given him 
an hour's start, I calculate he will be opening a store 
in Havana this day six montha' 

The Pork Trust, it was clear, had everything to 
gain by a war by which the Sugar Trust had every- 


thing to lose. But, in spite of Mr. Stearine's con- 
fident assurances, I continued to have my own 
opinion about the power behind Herr Eehler. 

' Do you want me to act ? ' I demanded briefly. 

'I want you to take a hand — ^yes.' The Sugar 
Agent took out his pocket-book, and counted out 
bills to the amount of ten thousand dollars. * You 
can play up to that/ he added, ' and then you can 
let me know how the game stands. I guess I shall 
buy Pork Consols.' 

With this discouraging observation, Stearine left. 

It did not take me long to decide on my plana 
As it was not likely that Eehler was apprehensive 
of being watched, it would be an easy task to trace 
him, and I at once gave orders to my staff to that 
effect, with the result that I learned in a few hours 
that the Bavarian had put up at the Hotel des 
Deux Aigles, and was leaving by the Sud Express 
for Madrid. 

I now decided on one of the boldest and most 
effective strokes in my repertory. I went openly to 
the station, took my own ticket, and entered the 
compartment of the sleeping-car in which Eehler 
had booked his own placa 

The real astonishment of the Bavarian at seeing 
me I met with an affectation of moderate surprise 
on my own part. 

* So you are going with me ? ' I observed* 


'With you !' Kehler exclaimed. 

*It appears so. No doubt yon haye been in- 
structed ? ' 

Kehler denied it energetically. 

' But you refused to participate in a certain design/ 
he reminded ma 

* I laid down certain conditions, which you declined 
to fulfil, but which have since been complied with by 
your principaL' 

The Bavarian was thunderstruck. I relied upon 
his having reported his failure to whomever it was 
that had sent him to me; and there was nothing 
impossible in the suggestion that I had in conse- 
quence been approached directly. 

* You have credentials, I suppose ? ' he asked. 
I nodded carelessly. 

'You will convince- me, perhaps ? ' he persisted. 
'Are you authorised to convince me?' was my 

* You know it — ^no.* 

I shrugged my shoulders and remained silent 
So conmienced the most extraordinary journey I 
have ever taken, a journey which was destined to 
end only at Havana. Across France and Spain and 
the Atlantic Ocean we travelled side by side, each 
unwilling to lose sight of the other; I, resolved to 
find out and if possible thwart the designs of my 
companion ; Kehler, unable to determine whether I 


was an opponent, a rival, or a spy set oyer him by 
those on whose behalf he was engaged. 

On the frontier, at Hendaye, a despatch was 
handed in to me through the carriage window. It 
was from Stearine, and contained these words, whose 
terrible significance I was designed to learn later — 

' United Statee warship Maine arrived harbau/r 

The agent of the Sugar Trust had been too careful 
to say more. But it was clear that he regarded this 
event as a move in the game played by the great 
exporting Trusts. 

From the moment of our arrival in Madrid I was 
no longer able to keep a close watch on Kehler, 
though by a sort of tacit agreement we stayed at 
the same hotel. I found out that he was paying 
visits to the Provincials of the Jesuit and Franciscan 
Orders, and had been admitted as a visitor to one or 
two convents, and for a time I was tempted to relax 
my suspicions, and to think that the Bavarian was 
engaged in some Catholic espionage. These doubts 
were suddenly dissipated by my meeting him one 
day in the courtyard of the hotel attired in the 
habit of a priest — the dress of which he had been 
deprived on account of his youthful misconduct. 

I could not doubt that this dress was a mere 
disguise, and that it had been assumed for a political 
purpose. I went up to him and whispered — 


' Do we still recognise each other, or do you prefer 
that we meet as strangers ? ' 

'As fellow-travellers simply, I should prefer/ he 

The next day he had disappeared from the hotel. 
I set the agencies at my command to work, and 
learned without much difficulty that passages had 
been reserved for the false priest and a Sister of 
Mercy travelling under his protection, on board a 
Spanish steamer sailing from Cadiz to Havana. 

Needless to add, I was on board the same steamer 

when she quitted her moorings and breasted the 
waves of the open sea. During the voyage I had 

many opportunities of watching Eehler and his com- 
panion, who were constantly together, holding long 
private conversations in retirod comers of the vessel 
The nun, who was presented to me as Sister Marie- 
Joseph, was a pale, delicate-looking girl of about 
twenty, with that abstracted look in her eyes which 
betokens a mind wavering between earnestness and 

Dimly, and through clouds of uncertainty, I began 
to perceive that Eehler had ransacked the convents 
of Madrid for a suitable instrument, and that he 
was hard at work hypnotising the unfortimate girl's 
mind, so as to prepare it for any suggestion he 
might have to make. 

Before we reached Cuba I contrived to speak to 


the Sister apart. I found her reserved and dis- 
trustful of a heretic, as she had evidently been told 
to consider me. On my satisfying her that I had 
been brought up a Catholic, she became slightly 
more communicative, and revealed a disposition 
singularly sincere and devoted, but almost morbid 
in its detestation of Protestantisj^. She betrayed a 
feeling of horror at the idea of American domination 
in the Catholic island of Cuba, and it was in vain 
that I represented to her the generous tolerance 
accorded to our religion in the United States. 

I did not dare to ask her the subject of her 
conferences with Kehler. To have hinted at the 
Bavarian's true character would have been simply 
to forfeit her confidence in myself. I decided to 
reserve my efforts in this direction until our arrival 
in Havana, where I did not doubt that I should be 
able to find some responsible ecclesiastic who would 
undertake the investigation of Kehler's antecedents. 

In the meantime I could only wait and watch. 
I was painfully impressed by the steady growth of 
the false priest's influence over his victim, who 
seemed at last to respond to his least word or 
gesture. I had before me the spectacle of a possible 
Teresa or Elizabeth being gradually transformed into 
a Ravaillac by the dexterous touches of a rascally 
police agent. 

As soon as we entered the harbour Eehler and 


his companion got ready to disembark. I noticed 
that at this moment they were separated, the Sister 
going ashore by herself with a large basket trunk, 
while her protector followed at some distance behind. 

They met again at the hotel, to which I had 
accompanied the man. By this time I had forced 
a certain degree of acquaintance on the couple, 
though I was unable to interrupt the intimacy of 
their private intercourse. I arranged to secure a 
room next to that of the Sister, and I observed 
with some surprise that Herr Kehler was lodged in 
another wing of the building. 

By a coincidence we found the hotel full of naval 
officers from the Maine, who had chosen it for 
their headquarters while on shore. Instead of dis- 
concerting Kehler, this circumstance appeared to 
give him every satisfaction. 

He went out of his way to show civility to the 
Americans, and rapidly became intimate with several 
of them. Sister Marie-Joseph, on the other hand, 
held sullenly aloof, scarcely able to repress some 
signs of the abhorrraice which the sight of the 
heretics inspired. 

The visit of the Maine was understood to be 
a pacific one. It was a demonstration to the 
world that the relations between the United States 
and Spain continued to be those of perfect friend- 
ship, and that the former Power was inspired by 


peaceful motives in seeking to bring about an under- 
standing between the belligerent Cubans and the 

Nevertheless it was an imprudent act to send a 
man-of-war, flying the Stars and Stripes, into the 
harbour of a place swarming with fanatical Spaniards, 
furious at the interference of another Power between 
them and their revolted subjects. It was, in fact, 
a provocation, and it was not surprising that the 
astute agent of the Sugar Trust had seen in this 
proceeding the work of those commercial powers 
whose interest lay in the direction of a rupture. 

Faithful to my preconceived intention, I took an 
early opportunity of waiting upon a high Church 
functionary in the city, to warn him of the true 
character of the Bavarian. 

The reception I met with was a cold one, however. 
Monsignor X allowed me to see that he con- 
sidered me an officious person. 

' May I ask what is your interest in all this ? ' he 
demanded, as soon as I had made my statement. 

* I represent the Sugar Trust,' I told him. 
' The Sugar Trust ? ' 

* The manufacturers of sugar in the United States, 
who fear the competition of cane sugar, and are 
therefore opposed to the annexation of Cuba, which 
would involve free trade with the island,' I ex- 


1 . «. 


' And you suggest that this Father Eehler ? ' 

' Herr Eehler/ I corrected. ' This man is no more 
a priest than I am. He is believed to be the agent 
of a Chicago Trust, which desires to see Cuba brought 
within the Union.' 

'We shall find out whether he is a priest/ was 
the retort. ' Before he can say Mass in this diocese 
he will have to apply for permission, and to show 
his ordination papers.' 

'But if he does not wish to say Mass? If he 
merely confines himself to directing the Sister whom 
he has conducted here ? ' 

'In that case we cannot interfere. We have no 
more proof that she is a Sister than that he is a 
priest ? ' 

I gave Monsignor X an indignant look, which 

he bore with coolness. 

' Besides, what is it that you apprehend ? ' he asked. 
'One cannot deal with imaginary dangers.' 

'I am sure that these two persons are bent on 
some desperate enterprise — that their presence in 
Hayana bodes no good to the cause of peace,' was 
all I could find to say. 

The ecclesiastic made a scornful gesture. 

'It appears to me that this is a matter which 
ooncems the police/ he said, in a tone which signified 
that the interview was at an end. 

I returned to my quarters, realising to the full 


the difficulty of any effective action. To go to the 
police would be merely to invite a repetition of the 
snub which I had just received from the ecclesiastical 
authority. I could only rely on my own resources. 

I sent a wire to Stearine : * Wa/r agent here aa 
priest, cLocompanied by nun' and waited. It was 
just possible that Stearine might have connections 
through which those who had power in the Church 
at Havana might be influenced, in which case I had 

no doubt that Monsignor X would very quickly 

become interested in the doings of ' Father ' Kehler. 

I can hardly tell what it was precisely that I 
expected to happen. I had some idea of an assas- 
sination, possibly of the captain of the Maine, or 
perhaps of the American Consul, by Sister Marie- 

Day by day I perceived the unhappy girl becom- 
ing more and more wrought up to the pitch of 
enthusiasm necessary for the perpetration of some 
hid^us deed, like that of Charlotte Corday, or 
Judith. Curiously enough, the poor Sister showed 
an inclination for my society, perhaps because I was 
a familiar face. She would sit beside me in the 
drawing-room of the hotel and talk about her con- 
vent, in which she had been educated and passed 
most of her lifa 

I learned that she was of a noble family, rendered 
poor by the ravages committed in the course of the 

■■ She would talk about her cc 


Cuban insurrection, a fact which may have helped to 
exasperate her spirit. But I sought in vain to draw 
her into any confidences on the subject of her 
mission to Havana. The moment I touched on 
that topic she became dumb, and made an excuse to 
leave ma 

During the next few days I observed the intimacy 
between Kehler and the American officers becoming 
closer. The German could speak English fluently, 
and this circumstance naturally recommended him 
as a companion in a place where Spanish and French 
are almost the only languages known to the in- 
habitants. There was a young lieutenant, or sub- 
lieutenant, in particular, who was constantly in 
Kehler's company, viewing the sights of the town, or 
smoking with him on the hotel verandah. Suspect- 
ing that my man had some object in cultivating this 
lieutenant, I endeavoured to make his acquaintance 
myself, only to find my advances rebuffed in a 
manner which showed me plainly that Kehler had 
been at work disparaging me beforehand. 

One day as I was standing on the verandah I 
noticed the pair come out of the hotel together, and 
turn in the direction of the harbour. I followed at 
a discreet distance, and saw the officer conduct 
Kehler into a boat, manned by sailors from the 
Maine^ in which they pulled off to the ship. I 
stood watching, and at the end of about an hour I 



saw them coming back, the face of the false priest 
wearing a serious expression. 

I took advantage of my acquaintance with him 
to meet the pair as they landed, and accost them 

' You have been to have a look over the ship ? ' I 
threw out. 

Kehler tried to pass on with a careless nod, but 
the lieutenant, less discreet, drew himself up with a 
severe glance at me. 

'Father Eehler has been good enough to visit a 
poor sailor who is lying sick on board,' he said, in a 
tone evidently meant to rebuke my impertinence. 

I bowed with assumed respect. But as they went 
on their way I experienced a sensation of alarm. 
The pretext which had imposed on the officer was 
transparent enough as far as I was concerned. I 
realised that Eehler was steadily pursiaing some 
well-thought-out design, and that he had contrived 
this visit to the man-of-war with some dark purpose 
which it was my business to discover. 

I determined at length, since Eehler's friend was 
so strongly prejudiced, to seek out some other 
officer, preferably the commander, and takjB him 
into my full confidence. Unhappily events marched 
too swiftly for me. That very evenmg it was already 
too late. 

Passing through the entrance hall on my way 

' Father Kehler hm, been eood enough lo visii a poor sailor who 
U lying sick on board,' he said, in a lone evidently mean I 
lo rebuke my impertinence." 


upstairs to dress for dinner, I was struck by the 
sight of the basket-trunk belonging to Sister Marie- 
Joseph standing strapped-up, ready to go away. At 
the foot of the staircase I encountered the Sister 
herself, evidently prepared for departure. 

She appeared pleased to have the opportunity of 
bidding me fareweU. 

'I shall not forget you where I am going/ she 
said with a mournful smile, as she extended her 

' May one inquire where that will be 7 ' I ventured 
to ask. 

She shook her head. 

' It is an affair of duty. I am going a very long 
way, and you will never see me again.' 

' And Father Eehler/ I forced myself to say, ' does 
he accompany you ? ' 

A momentary expression of repugnance, almost of 
loathing, flashed out on her pale face. 

' No, no I The padre has done his part in conduct- 
ing me so far, and finding me the situation of 
which I was in search. I have parted with him 
now, and we have nothing more to do with one 

This answer relieved my mind of a burden. I 
came hastily to the conclusion that Eehler, finding 
himself able to carry out his projects without assist- 
ance, had decided to dispense with an embarrassing 


ally, and I was glad to think that this poor girl 
would be delivered from his evil influence. 

What blindness are we capable of towards those 
very things which seem the clearest to our afiter- 
recollections ! 

I took the precaution to ascertain at the bureau 
that Eehler was still staying on in the hotel, and I 
came down to dinner with a light heart. 

A number of the American o£Scers were dining in 
the hotel that night There appeared to be a sort 
of entertainment going forward, in which some 
Spanish officers from the garrison were fraternising 
with them. 

Eehler, depriyed of the company of his lieutenant, 
sat at a small table by himself, and I noticed that 
he was drinking heavily, while his flushed face and 
inflamed eyes showed him to be labouring with an 
excitement which I ascribed to the influence of 
the wine. 

I sat down at another table, and busied myself 
with efforts to disentangle the threads of the intrigue 
which was being woven around ma I cast a thought 
or two after the poor girl, with whom I had been so 
strangely associated. 

Absorbed in these thoughts, I did not mark the 
evening advancing, when I was gradually aroused by 
the breaking up of the military party. The lieu- 
tenant, who had shown so strong a dislike for me, 


rose from his seat and came my way, taking a 
Spanish officer by the arm. 

As they approached, I perceived from his gait 
that the American had been affected by the healths 
he had been drinking. I saw him point me out 
to his companion as they approached, and he 
muttered something in the other's ear, which caused 
the Spaniard to turn on me a glance of grave 

Stung by this insufferable insolence, I sprang to 
my feet, and placed myself in front of the lieutenant. 

'Have you anything to say to me, sir?' I said 

' Nothing. I do not talk with spies,' was the coarse 

' But you take them on board the ship it is your 
duty to guard,' I returned fiercely, carried out of 

The lieutenant drew back, amazed. 

' I have taken a worthy priest to console a dying 
man — one of his own faith,' he stammered out 

* A German police agent, disguised as a priest, I 
suppose you mean. The spy Kehler ? ' 

He hegjBJCL to tremble violently. * But the Sister ! 
The nurse ! ' 
' Sister Marie- Joseph I What do you mean 7 ' 

* She is on board now, nursing O'Callaghan.' 

It was my turn to utter an oath of consternation. 


' Come with me. Take me on board instantly, or 
take me to your commander.' 

' We will go on board/ said the sobered lieutenant. 

Qlancing round as I followed him out I saw that 
Kehler had disappeared. Quickening our steps by 
a common instinct, the lieutenant and I almost ran 
down to the water's edge. 

' Thank (rod ! ' burst from his lips as we came in 
sight of the majestic vessel lying peacefully at her 
anchors in the calm waters of the bay, her spars and 
turrets outlined against the clear, starlit sky, and 
only a few twinkling lights betraying the presence 
of the two hundred men who slept below her decks. 
The same instant there was a spout of fire, a cloud 
of wreck and dust mounted to heaven, and a 
thunderous boom stunned our ears, and sent the 
waters of the bay dashing up at our feet. 

The Mmne had broken like a bubble. I saw all 
m a flash— in some dark way that wiU never now be 
revealed Sister Marie- Joseph had blown up the Maine. 
Eehler had succeeded — I had failed. 

It has not been easy for me to write the story of 
what I regard as the greatest failure of my career. 
My mistake was the initial one of refusing to purchase 
Eehler's confidences, by the expedient of pledging 
myself to assist his enterprise. 

Immediately the intelligence of the disaster reached 
Europe Stearine sent me a cable peremptorily en- 


joining silenca That injunction I consider has now 
lost its force through three circumstances, the lapse 

of time, the death in action of Lieutenant , and 

the living suicide of the arch-criminal, haunted by 
the horror of his own deed, in the deathlike cloisters 
of La Trappa 



Evert one must feel that the last word had not 
been said on that extraordinary transaction which 
convulsed France, and shocked Europe, during the 
close of the nineteenth century, under the name of 
the Dreyfus Case. 

It is true that no effort has been spared by the 
Grovemment of the Republic to put an end to an 
agitation which threatened to develop into a civil 
war. A general amnesty has been proclaimed; the 
courts of law have been forbidden to entertain any 
proceedings involving the guilt or innocence of 
Captain Dreyfus, his accusers or his partisans, and 
the French press has been appealed to, in the name 
of patriotism, to close its colunms to all further 
discussion of the dangerous topic. 

Such an attitude, adopted in order to save France 
from disruption, is not without a certain dignity; 
but it is at the same time terribly unjust. It is as if 
France had repeated to the victim of the Devil's Isle 



the memorable words — ^'It is better that one man 
should die for the people.* 

The one person in Europe who is completely 
ignorant of the true motives underlying this grim 
tragedy is without doubt Dreyfus himself. That 
taciturn, commonplace figure, suddenly eleyated 
into the position of criminal, martjrr, and hero, 
was merely the shuttlecock driven through the air 
by unseen hands. Even if he was guilty of writing 
the celebrated bordereau — a question which the 
Court of Rennes decided in the a£Srmative — ^he 
must have done it by the order of others, given 
for reasons which he did not comprehend. 

It will be remembered that before and during the 
second trial of Dreyfus, the strongest efforts were 
put forth on his behalf by three foreign Powers — 
those composing the Triple Allianca The German, 
Austrian, and Italian military attach^, breaking 
through the etiquette of their position, disclaimed, 
each on his personal word of honour, any dealings 
with the alleged spy. 

Not only so, but I myself sent for the Paris corre- 
spondent of a London newspaper of high standing, 
and authorised him to inform his readers that the 


German Emperor himself was prepared personally 
to exculpate the accused from the charge of selling 
information to Germany. 
This offer, made privately to the French Presi- 


dent, was declined for the same reasons which 
prompted the Grovemment to hush up the whole 
affair. But every thoughtful man will realise that 
it would not have been made unless there had 
been more at stake than the freedom of an obscure 

My own connection with \Ai^ Affaire Drey fas dates 
from the time of the first trial and sentence, when 
the theatrical spectacle of Ihe degradation of the 
unfortunate o£Scer was the theme of universal com- 
ment At this juncture I received a visit from 

Colonel 9 an officer high in the Emperor's 

confidence, and at that time attached to the German 
Embassy in Paris. 

'I have come to you/ he announced, as soon as 
we found ourselves alone, 'by command of his 
Imperial Majesty the Eaiser/ 

I bowed respectfully as I replied — 

^ I am deeply honoured by this fresh proof of his 
Majesty's confidence/ 

The Colonel regarded me for a moment with some 

'You are a sort of spy, are you not?* he in- 

I refused to take offence at this blunt question, so 
natural on the part of a soldier. 

' Each of us has his own part to play/ I explained 
suavely. 'The soldier fights with the enemy in 


the open field; the man of my profession has to 
encounter the foes who burrow underground.' 

Colonel appeared satisfied. 

'The Kaiser trusts you; that is enough for me/ 
he declared. 'You will not dare to betray this 
confidence ? ' 

This time I rose to my feet, stem and con- 

' You have not come ^re to insult me, I suppose, 
Colonel ? If you are the bearer of instructions from 
the Kaiser, be good enough to deliver them without 
comment ; if not, I will attend to my other business/ 

The German's face betrayed his astonishment at 
this rebuke. He hastened to mutter an apology, 
which I received in sUence. 

' His Majesty wishes you to investigate this Affaire 
Dreyfus, on his behalf. There is some secret motive 
for the notoriety which they are conferring on this 
unlucky spy ' — the Colonel gave me an apprehensive 
glance as he pronounced this word — ' and the Kaiser 
is determined to find out what it is. It appears 
that we are beiug made a sort of stalking-horse in 
the business; it is pretended that Dreyfus was an 
agent of ours, which is utterly untrue/ The German 
smiled sardonically as he added : ' Our information 
is supplied to us from higher sources than a simple 
captain of artiUeiy, and we can get as much as we 
choose to pay for.' 




' Is it not likely that Dreyfus may be the scape- 
goat of others— perhaps those higher sources to which 
you refer ? ' 

The Colonel shook his head. 

'That does not explain the persistence with which 
they are trying to connect the a£fair with Germany. 
I have information that the heads of the French 
Army are representing that France is in actual 
danger. The bitterness with which Dreyfus is 
assailed is due, they pretend, to a sense of the 
national peril' 

' And all that is quite untrue, I understand ? ' 

'So untrue that I have reason to know that 
Wilhelm II. has a particular desire to conciliate 

the French ' The Colonel stopped abruptly as 

if he had been on the point of saying too much. 

'Very good. Then I am to find out for his 
Majesty as much as I can about this affair, and 
particularly why it is sought to represent Dreyfus 
as an agent of Germany ? ' 

Colonel nodded. 

It was not an easy task to set me ; nevertholess, 
I had some hope of success. It so happened that 
I had formerly had transactions of a confidential 
nature with Greneral Gamier, one of the foremost^ 
if not the foremost, figure among the persecutors of 
Dreyfus. I had the right to approach this General 
as a friend, and I had reasons for believing that he 


might be wiUing to open his mouth for a sufficient 

Shortly after Colonel ^"s departure, therefore, 

I strolled round to the General's private residence, 
off the Avenue Clichy. Gamier was not at home, 
but I left a message with the concierge that the 
dealer in old coins, who had formerly sold him some 
Roman specimens, had just obtained others which 
he was anxious to submit for inspection. 

As I anticipated, this message had the desired 
result of bringing General Gamier to see me the 
same night. He came, not to my public bureau, 
bat to a little apartment in the Quartier Latin which 
I rent for the purpose of interviews with clients who 
do not wish their acquaintance with me to be known. 

It was evident that my summons had annoyed, 
perhaps frightened, him. 

'Now, Monsieur Y ^ what does this mean?' 

he blustered, as I closed the door behind him. 

'It means, Monsieur le G^n^ral, that I have a 
question to ask you, but that I do not expect you 
to answer it for nothing.' 

Gamier was visibly relieved to discover that I had 
not sent for him to extort blackmail. But his reply 
was not encouraging. 

' I fear that you have given yourself trouble use- 
lessly. It is not my intention to sell any information 
of a kind which cannot be given openly.' 


I knew the man I was dealing with too well to 
take this answer as final. 

' Without doubt you are right to reniind me that 
a man like yourself ought to be approached with a 
great deal of circumspection/ I returned, with a 
mixture of politeness and irony. 

Gamier*s face flushed. 

'I mean what I have said/ he affirmed. 'You 
must not suppose that you are dealing to-day with 
Colonel Gamier. In my position one has responsi- 
bilities to which there attaches itself a sentiment 
of honour, you understand, M. V ? ' 

My experience has not taught me that men become 
more scrupulous by being promoted from the rank 
of Colonel to that of General, but only that they 
become more greedy. I replied — 

' I understand of course that one does not buy old 
coins at the same price from a general officer as from 
a field officer.' 

Gamier's £a^e assumed a look of indecision. 

'For whom are you acting, this time?* he 

' General, if any one had asked me formerly from 
where I had procured my Roman coins, what do you 
suppose my answer would have been ? ' 

Gamier tugged thoughtfully at his moustache, as 
he frowned over a refusal which was, at the same 
time, a proof that he could trust me. 



' Suppose you explain to me what information you 
are in search of?' he said^ throwing himself into a 

I thought the battle was won, as I responded— 

' It concerns the Dreyfus Case.' 

To my surprise, Gamier bounded out of the seat 
into which he had just dropped. 

'As to that — impossible!' he exclaimed with 
vigour. 'That is our secret — ours, you understand.' 

I listened to this declaration with secret dismay. 
It revealed to me that the fate of Dreyfus was in 
some manner connected with the interest of the 
heads of the French Army, in short, with Gamier's 
own; and from his tone I suspected that I was 
questioning the arch-plotter. 

There was still the chance that he might be will- 
ing to part with the secret if he could be assured 
that it would not be used against him. 

'Suppose I required this information on behalf 
of a friendly monarch, who is himself a soldier, 
and who might be willing to pledge his word that 
it should not be made use of to your disadvantage ? ' 

Grarnier gazed at me as though he would have read 
the name of this monarch in my eyes. 

' Impossible,' he repeated, in a tone of real regret ; 
' twice impowibU I ' And, as though anxious to con- 
vince me that his refusal was not unfriendly, he 
added — ' It is not a question of a Boulanger this time.' 


Perceiving that I oould not press him further with- 
out showing my own hand, I reluctantly allowed 
Gamier to depart He had in reality told me more 
than he suspected. 

In the first place, he had convinced me that the 
Kaiser's suspicions were not idle, by his reception of 
my hint that I was acting for a foreign Power. If 
the ferocious sentence on Dreyfus had been inspired 
by spite against an unpopular officer, or by a desire 
to find a scapegoat for bigger traitors ; or if it had 
merely been an episode in the secret duel between 
the Church and the Freemasons, as the champions of 
Dreyfus were inclined to believe, there would have 
be^n no meaning in that regretful ' Twice impossible!' 
If Gamier had refused to sell his secret to a foreign 
Power, I knew him well enough to feel assured that 
it must be because that Power was in some way inter- 
ested to defeat Garnier's conspiracy. 

But the real clue had been placed in my hands by 
those concluding words — ^'It is not a question of a 
Boulanger this time.' 

Such a phrase constituted a riddle which few 
men in Europe were better able than myself to 

Boulanger was an adventurer, lifted on a wave of 
popular favour, who had seemed likely at one moment 
to overturn the republic and replace it by a military 
dictatorship with himself at the head. He had failed 


because he was a mere adventurer, who represented 
no principle, and who lacked that personal prestige 
with the Army which is only acquired by successful 
leadership in war. 

Nevertheless his career had revealed the weakness 
of the Republic, and proved that all that was neces- 
sary to bring about its downfall was an alliance 
between the military caste and some pretender with 
more substantial claims than those conferred by the 
shouts of the Paris mob. 

Every one who knows anything of France knows 
that the soldiers have long chafed under the ascend- 
ency of the lawyers, which is a necessary consequence 
of Republican institutions. But Gamier's words, if I 
interpreted them rightly, showed that the lesson of 
Boulanger's failure had been laid to heart, and that 
this time the military conspiracy which undoubtedly 
existed had found a really formidable figurehead. In 
short, it was a question not of a military dictator, but 
of a monarch ; not of a Boulanger, but of a Bourbon 
or a Bonaparte. 

I found myself on the brink of a discovery of first- 
rate importance. For the success of such a military 
revolution as that indicated only two things seemed 
necessary, a candidate and an occasion. If my 
diagnosis were sound, a candidate had been found 
in Philippe d'Orl^ans, the representative of the 
ancient monarchyi or Victor Napoleoni the heir of 



the Bonapartes. The occasion was to be furnished, 
perhaps, by the long-delayed war of la revanche ! 

As soon as I had reduced my thoughts to some 
sort of order I decided that my next step must be to 
ascertain which of the two pretenders, who seemed 
pointed out for the leading rdle in such a conspiracy, 
was the chosen one. The Duke of Orleans was at 
this time in England, while the home of Prince 
Napoleon, as every one knows, is in the neighbour- 
hood of Brussels. 

I despatched two of my most trusted subordinates, 
one to Belgium, and the other to England, with in- 
structions to keep a close watch on the movements 
of both princes, and to let me know if there were any 
signs of unusual activity which would indicate that 
some stroke was in preparation. 

In Paris I kept up a similar watch on the head- 
quarters of the Royalist and Bonapartist parties. 
The Royalists are formidable, thanks to the influence 
of society ; but the Bonapartist cause is represented 
by a small and dwindling clique of journalists and 
demagogues, who exhaust themselves in the effort to 
revive the Napoleonic legend, by their parrot-like 
repetition of the words Marengo and Austerlitz. 

I did not imagine that this noisy faction would be 
intrusted with any important secret ; and I was soon 
satisfied that if the chiefs of the Army were really 
contemplating a restoration, Bourbon or Bonapartist, 


they had kept their design entirely to them- 

The first reports which I received from my agents 
abroad were discouraging. The Bourbon Pretender, 
who is without reticence, and seeks every opportunity 
of advertising his personality, appeared to be quite 
passive for the moment. 

Prince Victor Napoleon, a man of a very different 
character, who withdraws himself as much as possible 
from public notice, conscious, perhaps, that he has 
inherited some of his father's unpopularity, was also 
leading his usual quiet life, and no evidence was 
forthcoming of any secret intelligence between him 
and the group of generals who controlled the French 

Things were in this position, and I was beginning 
to feel dissatisfied with the slow progress I was 
making, when I was suddenly called to the telephone 
one evening by my agent in Brussels, who had at 
last some important news for me. 

' Prince Victor is going to England,' he announced, 
after we had exchanged the password. 

'To England!* Was it possible that the two 
rivals were about to meet ? I asked myself. ' When 
does he depart ? ' 

'Perhaps to-morrow. Wm secretary has been to 
the Belgian Foreign Office to procure passports.' 

'There are no passports required in England/ I 


returned, my suspicions instantly .roused. 'You 
have been deceived. Have you seen the passport ? ' 

' No. It was from the servants that I learned the 
Prince was going to England.' 

'It is a blind, rest assured. Keep the strictest 
watch, and do not allow him to leave Brussels without 
yoa I shall come by the next train.' 

I rang off the communication, and hastened to 
make the necessary preparations for a journey of 
which I could not foresee the end. 

On alighting in the Belgian capital I was met by 
my faithful henchman, who informed me with spark- 
ling eyes that he had succeeded, by means of a bribe, 
in ascdi'taining from a clerk in the Foreign Office 
that a passport had been granted to the Comte de 
Saint Pol and secretary, travelling to Berlin. 

If anything had been needed to convince me that 
the journey of Prince Napoleon had a serious pur- 
pose, these concealments would have done so. I was 
now confident that I was on the right track, and I 
did not grudge the fatigue involved in a journey 
across Europe. 

I ordered Fouqu^, as xny man was named, to re- 
sume his watch on the Prince's abode, while I waited 
at the station from which the Berlin express takes 
its departure. It was understood that we were both 
to proceed by the same train as the Comte de Saint 
Pol and his companion. 



No hitch occurred; the Prince, accompanied by 
his secretary and my agent, duly arrived to take their 
seats in the train, and the four of us alighted to- 
gether in the capital of Germany. I had spent the 
interval in considering my plan of action. I was so 
far from foreseeing the true cause of Prince Napo- 
leon's mysterious journey, that I expected to find 
him closeted the next day with the German Emperor, 
imparting the confidence which Garnier had refused 
to me. The event proved very different. 

As soon as the two travellers had taken up their 
quarters in a hotel, whither, it is needless to say, we 
accompanied them, the secretary was sent out on an 
errand by himself. Fouqu^, of course, followed, and 
came back in about an hour with the startling infor- 
mation that the secretary had been to the Russian 

The meaning of this proceeding flashed upon me 
at once. The real destination of the Prince was not 
Berlin, but Petersburg. He was merely passing a 
few hours in Berlin in order to confuse the trail, and 
he had sent his passport to the Embassy to be visM 
for Russia. 

In order to make sure that my surmise was 
correct, I decided to make use of my implied 
authority to act on behalf of the German Govern- 
ment I ordered Fouqu6 to force his way bodily 
into the Count's apartment, announce himself as 


an agent of the Berlin police, and demand to see 
the stranger's passport. The ruse was completely 
successful, and I learned that the yellow seal of the 
Russian Eagle had been affixed to the paper. 

My own task had now become difficult and 
dangerous. Although I maintain friendly relations 
with the Russian police, with whom I have often 
collaborated, I knew they were not likely to tolerate 
my intrusion into their territory as the spy of a 
foreign Power. In dealing with half-reclaimed 
savages like the Slaves, one never knows what 
form their revenge will take, and Siberia is not a 
coimtry in which I have ever had any inclination 
to reside. 

The plan which presented itself to my mind was 
an audacious one, but in such situations audacity is 
safer than faint-heartedness. I despatched Fouqu^ 
to the headquarters of the Berlin police with a 
denunciation against Prince Napoleon's secretary for 
the crime of lese-Tnajeatd. 

Liae-majestd is the one oiFence which is never 
treated lightly in German official quarters. Fouqu6's 
information was eagerly taken down, and a police 
officer promptly arrived at the hotel armed with a 
warrant for the arrest of the traveller. 

M. R^millard, the secretary, protested in vain that 
he was a stranger, who had only that hour arrived 
in Berlin, and was leaving Germany the next day ; 


and that he had ^never been guilty of the least dis- 
respect towards Wilhelm II. 

'You declared that the Emperor was a babbler/ 
he was informed. 

' Ah, but I meant the Emperor of Russia/ retorted 
the Frenchman smartly. 

* What, is he a babbler, too ? ' exclaimed the police- 
man — an answer which, I believe, has since become 

But his ingenuity could not save the unlucky 
secretary 'from arrest, and the Comte de Saint Pol 
found himself obliged to proceed on his journey 
alone. It remained for me to complete the execu- 
tion of my design, by substituting myself in the 
place of M. R^millard. 

This project, which would have been beyond the 
powers of an ordinary police agent, was rendered 
possible in my case by my extensive knowledge of 
underground politics, and the reputation which I 
have striven to deserve of a man whose faith can 
be depended on. 

I dismissed Fouqu6, whose further presence would 
have embarrassed me, and took my seat in the coupd 
reserved for the Comte de Saint Pol in the Petersburg 

In answer to the remonstrance with which my 
intrusion was received, I explained that I was acting 
under orders. 


'Your travelling companion has been arrested, 
Monsieur le Comte, but perhaps I may be allowed 
to supply his place.' 

' Am I under arrest, too ? ' Prince Yictor demanded 
with some indignation. 

' Not at all/ I answered, ' but your movements are 
of some interest to the German Grovemment, or 
rather the Emperor, who has honoured me with his 
personal instructions.' 

'What have my affairs to do with his Imperial 
Majesty ? ' inquired the Prince anxiously. 
. ' Perhaps nothing, perhaps a great deal You will 
at least allow, Monsieur le Comte, that your passage 
through Germany appears to be attended with some 

• In short ? ' 

' In short, the Emperor will be glad to be honoured 
by your confidence, MoriseigneurJ 

The Prince started at this title, and began narrowly 
scrutinising my face, while he evidently considered 
in his own mind what account to give of himself. 

'It may assist you, perhaps,' I went on to say, 'if 
I tell you that I abeady know nearly all that you 
can tell me. I am M. V ' 

At this name a change passed over Prince 
Napoleon's face. A silent struggle seemed to be 
taking place in his breast. Presently he raised his 
eyes to mina 





^ V 

-, • * i— 



' Tell me, M. V , are you capable of forgetting 

for a couple of hours that you are the Emperor's 
confidential agent, and favouring me with your dis- 
interested advice ? ' 

' I believe so, always provided that your Highness 
does not ask me to betray the confidences I have 
received from others/ 

The Prince accepted this stipulation with frankness. 

'In all probability you are in a position to tell me 
more about the reasons for this journey than I know 
mysel£ I am going, as a matter of fact, in search of 

I concealed as much as possible the shock of 
surprise which this confession caused me. Up to 
that moment I had naturally imagined that the 
Prince was on his way to consult the Tsar, and 
obtain his approval, as the ally of France, of what- 
ever designs were in progress. I now realised 
suddenly that I had overlooked a factor in the 
situation whose importance might be greater than 
Prince Victor's own. 

I need scarcely say that I refer to his brother 

In enumerating the pretenders whose ambition 
threatens the Republic, I had naturally omitted this 
prince, whose claims seemed to be overshadowed 
by those of his elder brother. I now recalled his 
popularity as a young man of the most charming 


maimers, and the prestige which he derives from 
his rank in the Russian Army and the personal 
friendship of the Tsar. 

What was more possible than that Gamier and 
his comrades, passing over the unattractive elder, 
should have chosen as the figurehead of their 
usurpation this romantic character, who would be 
doubly dependent on them, because he would be 
doubly a usurper ? 

These reflections passed through my mind swiftly 
enough for me to answer without any perceptible 
pause — 

' You are paying a visit to your brother ? ' 

Prince Victor nodded, as though that were a 
matter of course. It was easy to see that he felt it 
a relief to be able to discuss the situation fiilly and 
frankly with a man of experience and resource, one 
who moreover had no reason for taking his brother's 

Briefly, his story came to this : — 

' Some years ago, after the death of our father, my 
brother had a long consultation with me about the 
prospects of our family. He asserted that he was 
more popular in France than I was, and suggested 
that the chance of a Bonaparte restoration would be 
improved if I would consent to abdicate in his fiGtvour. 
This I naturally refused to do, but he pressed me, 
and got other members of the family to do the same. 


and at last I gave way 8o far as to say that if there 
were a substantial prospect of success, and it really 
depended on my resigning my rights in my brother's 
favour, I would do it. 

* When I said that, of course, I thought it would be 
a question of a popular plebiscite, like our uncle 
received, and that I should be bound by the voice 
of the majority. But ever since then I have seen 
feelers put out from time to time in the Paris papers, 
suggesting that I did not wish to insist on my rights 
as the heir of the great Napoleon. And now within 
the last few days I have received a letter from my 
brother, informing me that a restoration is at last 
possible, and calling on me to fulfil my pledge, and 
publicly abdicate my claims.' 

I listened to this remarkable disclosure with the 
keenest interest It confirmed my suspicions on 
almost every point, though I was still far from feel- 
ing that I had obtained a complete solution to the 
problem set me by Wilhelm IL 

My companion let it be seen plainly that he was 
not very weU pleased with the prospect of being 
supplanted by his younger brother. I took this 
feeling into account in the advice which I offered. 

* The only thing you have told me that is new to 
me, is the fieust that Prince Louis is the person 
favoured by the conspirators,' I said. ' I knew there 
was some such plot on foot, but, like every one else. 


I took it for granted that you were the only possible 
candidate for the empire.' My companion breathed 

'As for the success of the movement, that is 
highly problematical. You will not feel very satis- 
fied if you execute this solemn act, only to see your 
brother rise for a moment on the shoulders of the 
mob, and then vanish like Boulanger, leaving your 
House more feeble than at present/ 

'Then what do you advise me to say to my 
brother ? ' he asked eagerly. 

' I think your course is perfectly clear. You are 
entitled to demand the fullest information, in the 
first place. If that satisfies you that your brother's 
success is assured, that no action on your part can 
retard it, then you will act gracefully by conceding 
a signature which will not deprive you of anything, 
and will give you substantial claims on his gratitude. 
But if you see that you are being asked to efface 
yourself without sufficient grounds, you have only to 
declare that you are not convinced, and to issue a 
manifesto to your supporters in France, remind- 
ing them that you are still the head of the House of 

My companion received this suggestion with every 
sign of satisfaction. During the remainder of the 
journey I lost no opportunity of playing on the 
same string, and making him feel that I was, as 


it were, his ally, engaging in defeating a plot which 
was much more against him than against the Re- 

When we reached the Russian frontier, I had no 
difficulty in inducing the Prince to pass me through 
the barrier as the secretary of the Comte de Saint 
Pol, and I thus entered Russia in perfect security, 
in a character which would have amazed the Third 

On our arrival in Petersburg I asked Prince 
Napoleon if he intended to go to his brother's 
addres& He answered proudly — 

' I am still the head of my House, I believe. It 
would be more suitable for me to let my brother 
know of my arrival in order that he may wait 
upon me.' 

I willingly charged myself with the delivery of the 

The announcement that I came from Brussels 
secured my instant admission to Prince Louis's 

'I have the honour to act as secretary to his 
Imperial Highness, Prince Victor Napoleon,' I 

' Ah ! In that case you bring me a letter from 
him, no doubt ? ' 

'I bring your Highness a message simply. The 
Prince desires to see you.' 


' But I cannot leave Petersburg — surely my brother 
knows that t ' 

' He knows it so well that he is in Petersburg.' 

Prince Louis sprang to his feet, tbundeistruck. 

"Victor is here! — already 1' he exclaimed in con- 

For answer I named the hotel at which we had 
put up, explaining at the same time that the Prince 
wished to preserve his incognito strictly. 

Prince Louis prepared to accompany me to the 
hotel in the carriage which had brought me to his 
house. As we drove along, he inquired — 

' Are you in my brother's confidence 7 ' 

' I believe I enjoy that honour,' was my reply. ' At 
least I am acquainted with the business which has 
brought him hera' 

* Perhaps you can tell me something of my brothei^s 
views t ' he said, feeling his way. 

'I think his Highness expects to receive full 
information before he takes a step which will be 


'He thinks, perhaps, that you may have been 
deceived by exaggerated promises, and that he 
has the right to forbid any premature attempt 
whose faUure would damage the Bonapartifit cause.' 

Prince Louis gnawed his moustache with some 


' My brother must not be unreasonable/ he mur- 
mured. ' One is never certain of success in these 

'If you will allow me to advise you, you will 
give him the fullest opportunity of judging of your 
prospects. It would be a serious thing for every- 
body if he were provoked into any public demon- 
stration against you.' 

The younger Prince changed colour. 

'Is it so serious as that?' he exclaimed. And 
during the remainder of the drive he continued 
wrapped in thought, only the working of his brow 
betraying the anxiety within. 

The greeting between the brothers was cordial, 
if not affectionate. I took it for granted that I was 
to be a party to the conference, and as each brother 
believed that I was secretly friendly to him, neither 
suggested that I should retire. 

As soon as we were seated round the table, on 
which I had laid out some paper, pens, and ink, 
Prince Victor formally opened the discussion. 

He spoke with a good deal of dignity and some 
eloquence. He treated it as a matter beyond dis- 
pute that he was the sole depository of the authority 
of the great Napoleon, entitled to the absolute 
obedience of every member of his House. He dis- 
claimed any personal ambition, and referred to his 
former pledge, which he described as a promise to 


abdicate if he were coDvinced that such a step on 
his part was really likely to result in the restoratioa 
of the empire. 

He then laid it down that he retained the sole 
r^ht to decide if and when the time for this step 
had arriTed, and hinted that it was his duty, as well 
as his right, to interfere actively to check any designs 
of which he disapproved. He concluded by profess- 
ing a sincere and hearty interest in his brother's 
fortunes, and inviting Prince Louis to confide in him 
fully, as in his best friend. 

This statesmanlike deliverance appeared to in- 
spire the younger Prince with genuine respect. He 
appeared to be a good deal embarrassed in the 
beginning of his reply. It was a difficult task to 
tell his elder brother that ho bad been rejected in 
favour of Louis himself 

After acknowledging in the most ample manner 
his brother's claims on his obedience and gratitude 
Prince Louis proceeded — 

' The state of France shows clearly that our House 
has no chance of success by constitutional means. 
The Republic can only be subverted by the action 
of the Army, which embodies the spirit of the nation 
more truly than the collection of provincial advocates 
and financiers which calls itself the Chamber of 
Deputies. The Army will be guided by its chie&, 
and, therefore, it is the Sta£f which holds our &to 


in its hands. The generals very naturally feel a 
preference for a soldier. It is now nearly six months 
since I was first approached in the greatest secrecy 
by General Gamier.' 

. I had the utmost difficulty in not betraying my 
emotion at the sound of this name, so inseparably 
connected with the Dreyfus Case. 

* Gamier conveyed to me that he and his brother 
generals had decided that the time was ripe for a 
revolution, in which they anticipated receiving the 
support of the Church and the noblease. He said 
they were determined to avoid a second catastrophe 
like that of the mountebank Boulanger, and there- 
fore they meant to abolish the Republic by a 
military pronunciamento, and declare France a 
monarchy under their protection. And, in short, 
he offered me the crown in the name of the French 

'You reminded him of my existence, perhaps?' 
put in the elder brother with some bitterness. 

' I refused to entertain the offer until it had been 
made to, and refused by, you,' Louis protested 
earnestly. 'Gamier replied that in no event would 
his brother generals agree to your nomination, and 
that, if I declined, the offer would be made to the 
Duke of Orleans, who commanded the support of 
the clerical faction. It was a question of Bonaparte 
or Bourbon, and I relied on our compact that in 



such a case you Tould relinquiBh your r^hts in my 

Prince Victor turned to me as though he wished 
me to express his sentiments. I accepted the task. 

'It would have been better if you bad taken Prince 
Napoleon into your confidence before ^ving any 
definite answer,' I said. 'General Gamier might 
have paid your elder brother the compliment of 
expluning the reasons for setting him aside.' 

' I did not consider the project sufficiently mature 
at that time,' was the answN. ' I thought it better 
to wait till the affair assumed a tangible shape.' 

'And this stage has now been reached?' I 

' It has. My brother will understand that a pre- 
text was necessary for the action of the Army, and 
that pretext could only be the danger of war. For a 
long time we were troubled with the difficulty that 
neither in Germany nor in Finland was there any 
disposition to attack France, and our treaty with 
Russia lud it down in the most explicit manner that 
the Tsar would only come to our assistance in the 
event of our being attacked. 

' But at last, thanks to the vigilance of Gamier and 
the other chiefe of the Staff, it has been discovered 
that Germany is secretly preparii^ for a stealthy 
spring ; she is covering France with her spies, and, 
but for the timely arrest of this Dreyfus ' 


I could not resist a subdued exclamation of 
triumph as the utterance of this name completed 
the chain of discovery. The whole intrigue en- 
gineered by the artful and unscrupulous French 
generals lay displayed to my eye, as on a map. I 
listened like one in a dream as Prince Louis con- 
tinued explaining to his brother the peril of the 
French nation, the justification for the Arm/s taking 
command of the State, and the consequent certainty 
of a Bonaparte restoration. 

Victor listened silently, unable to think of any 
objection, and seeing his own chance of ever reigning 
as Emperor of the French slipping from him. It 
was I who put the decisive question. 

'You have, I suppose, taken the Tsar into your 
confidence, and convinced him of the reality of the 

'We have obtained the promise of his support,' 
Louis answered. 

'Good. In that case you will not refuse your 
brother the reasonable proo& which it is his right 
to demand, that you have not been deceived.' 

' What proofs do you expect ? ' 

'I respectfully advise Prince Napoleon to request 
an interview with the Tsar.' 

This advice was received with very different feel- 
ings by the two brothers. Prince Louis cast on me 
a look of surprise and annoyance ; his elder brother's 


eyes glistened with pleasure at a suggestion whose 
value was at ODce apparent to him. 

'You cannot object to my foUowii^ my secretary's 
advice/ said Prince Victor, after a moment's pause. 
' The interests of my House are at stake ; and before 
I resign the prospect of a throne I have a tight to be 
thoroughly satisfied. The Tsar is your friend, and, 
therefore, you shotild bo pleased to accept his 

Prince Louis yielded, not Tety graciously, to these 
representations, and undertook to arrange the con- 
ference. He then withdrew, leaving us to discuss 
the situation. 

It is unnecessary for me to relate what passed 
between Prince Napoleon and myself. I succeeded 
in fizii^ him in the opinion that he had been 
treated ungenerously, and that he owed it to 
himself to thwart a dishonest and doubtful con- 
spiracy, calculated to bring the name of .Bonaparte 
into odium. 

The following day, about the same hour, we were 
received by the titular autocrat of All the Russias. 

The only persons present, besides the two brothers, 
were myself and the celebrated Pobiedonostzeff, who 
up till quite recently has exercised a mastery over 
the mind of his nominal sovereign that has been com- 
pared to that of Richelieu over the feeble Louis XIZL 

It was at once evident that the deciuon of 


Nicholas II. would be largely determined by the 
adyice which he received from his spiritual and 
political mentor. In effect, the conference resolved 
itself into a duel between the formidable Russian 
statesman and myself; he, animated by a hatred 
of freedom, which led him to sympathise with the 
design against the Republic; I, influenced by a 
sense of justice, and a desire to do my duty by 
the German Emperor. 

Having briefly acknowledged the favour of the 
Tsar in receiving him. Prince Napoleon left the 
statement of his case in my hands. 

I began by briefly referring to the understanding 
between the two brothers, and the present situation 
of affairs. 

'What Prince Napoleon desires,' I went on, 
addressing myself to Pobiedonostzeff, 'is to under- 
stand whether he is being asked to abdicate on 
sufficient grounds. Is he dealing with a mere 
hole-and-comer conspiracy, which may end in a 
fiasco; or is it true that his Imperial Majesty the 
Emperor of Russia is committed to the approval 
and support of his brother's enterprise ? ' 

The Tsar glanced from my face to that of his 
Minister, as I concluded, with an expression which 
convinced me that his Majesty knew very little 
about the a&ir, in which he had no doubt blindly 
accepted the guidance of Pobiedonostzeff 


The Procurator of the Holy Synod had evidently 
come prepared with an ambiguous reply. 

* His Majesty is a friend of France, and, as such, 
he naturally views with concern the weakness of 
the Republic, a weakness inseparable from Govern- 
ments which rest on the authority of the mob. 
The Emperor is at the same time a friend of the 
House of Bonaparte, though, of course, he has no 
wish to interfere in favour of any particular candi- 
date for the French throne rather than another. 

' He is pledged by treaty to come to the assistance 
of France in the case of an unprovoked attack by 
the Three Powers, or by the English. It follows 
that where the danger of such an attack exists, 
his Majesty is ready to encourage any prudent 
measure in the interests of France, such as this 
appears to be.' 

Prince Louis smiled, well pleased at this skilful 
answer. His brother gave me an expectant glanca 

'Am I to understand, then — or, rather, is Prince 
Napoleon to understand — that it is the threatening 
attitude of Germany which has weighed with his 
Imperial Majesty ? ' 

'You may say the treacherous intrigues of Germany. 
The Germans have been careful to avoid any open 

'His Majesty has received satisfetctoxy proofs, no 
doubt, that such intrigues exist ? ' 


'Undoubtedly. General Gamier, on behalf of 
the Staff of the French Army, has laid before the 
Emperor^s adviisters documents which prove up to 
the hilt that Germany is merely waiting for the 
psychological moment to spring upon France, dis- 
arm her, and erase her from the list of the Great 

* Would it not have been more in accordance with 
precedent if these documents had been submitted 
to you by the President of the French Republic 
through the medium of the French Ambassador ? ' 

I was glad to notice the Tsar turn a questioning 
look on his Minister as I delivered this thrust, for 
which Pobiedonostzeff was evidently not prepared. 

' I do not understand your objection,' he said, in 
some surprise. 'Prince Napoleon is surely not in- 
terested on behalf of the Republican Government' 

'The interest of Prince Napoleon is to know the 
truth/ I responded sternly. 'Conspirators are not 
always scrupulous about the means they employ. 
(General Gamier is not a man who can be pronounced 
incapable of manufacturing evidence in favour of his 

The Procurator's face flushed. 

'You venture to insinuate that General Gamier 
is a forger ! ' he cried wrathfuUy. 

'Listen, M. Pobiedonostzefil In the time of the 
late Tsar I was employed by the Russian Govern- 


ment, before it concluded the treaty of alliance with 
France, to obtain secret and precise information 
concerning the military strength of that country. 
I have never revealed the name of the oflScer from 
vhom I purchased that informatioa Shall I do 
BO now ? ' 

The Russian Minister gazed at me in constdmation, 
and his maater appeared equally surprised. Glancing 
at a slip of paper which lay before him, PoHedo- 
nostzeff asked — 

'Who are you, theoF Your name cannot be 

' It is V ' I answered. 

The Procurator threw himself back in his seat, 

' Your police have not shown their usual astute- 
ness, I am a&aid,' I observed, smiling. 

The Tsar now interposed in s tone of more 
authority than I had ventured to hope from bis 
not very strong face. 

'Do you suggest, M. Y , that the whole Staff 

of the French Army are ei^aged in a conspiracy 
to forge documents ? ' 

' Something of the kind, I am afraid, sire.' 

'But this notorious case, which has excited the 
attention of the whole of Europe — the Affair* 
Vreyfua ? ' 

'I am in a position to assure your Migesty that 

i' ''-^■^■^^^-Bl^ 


Captain Dreyfus had no more to do with Germany 
than M. PobiedonostzefF here/ 

The Procurator of the Holy Synod raised his head. 

* You are very confident, it seems to me, M. V ,' 

he sneered. ' May I ask if you have been retained 
by the party which is seeking to reopen the case 
of Dreyfus ? ' 

'No, M. le Procureur, my knowledge has been 
acquired from an opposite quarter.' 

' From Ceneral Oamier himself, perhaps ? ' 

•No, not this tvnie* I retorted, with biting sig- 
nificance. 'My information was derived from his 
Imperial Majesty, Wilhelm II.' 

Never shall I forget the changes which passed 
rapidly across the faces of three of my listeners as 
I made this statement Prince Victor Napoleon 
alone received unmoved an announcement for which 
he was already prepared. 

'It is not a month,' I added calmly, 'since the 
German Emperor charged me with a commission to 
find out two things: the reason for the theatrical 
publicity given to the trial of an obscure captain in 
the French Army, and the object of the persistent 
attempt to represent him as a spy of Germany.' I 
paused for a moment and turned to Nicholas 11. 
before concluding. 'That commission I have now 
accomplished. I am now in a position to inform 
the German Emperor that the purpose of this shame- 


ful comedy is to impose on the French people the 
belief that they are in danger of an invasion, from 
which they can only be delivered by a Bonaparte 
restoration under the patront^ of your Majesty.' 

The face of the young Tsar vent red and white 
by turn. 

'I Bwear by Saint Nicholas that they shall eat 
their forgeries ! ' he said. 

And I have reason to know that it was the pressing 
and peremptory request of the Russian Emperor that 
at last secured the second trial, and the final pardon 
and release of the unhappy sufferer. 




Fkbhaps the most sensational event in recent history 
was the publication by the young and newly crowned 
Tsar of All the Russias of a rescript calling upon the 
great military Powers of the world to disband their 
armies and dismantle their fleets, and inaugurate an 
era of universal peace. 

This extraordinary invitation produced a flutter in 
all the diplomatic dovecotes, for European statesmen 
have learned by this time that Russia does nothing 
in vain. Everywhere the same question was asked : 
' What is behind this rescript ? * 

It is scarcely necessary to add that, with the 
exception of a few sentimental fanatics in England 
and the United States, no one was inclined to put 
faith in a demonstration which was actually the pre- 
lude to a raid on the ancient liberties of Finland, 
in order to swell the armies of the Imperial peace- 
maker, and to a combined attack by all the great 
Christian Powers upon the only unarmed Empire in 

the world 



Nobody was deceived, but every one was discon- 
certed for the moment, and I was disconcerted like 
the rest. I was more. I was irresistibly drawn on 
to attempt the solution of a mystery which fascinated 
me like a difficult chess problem set before an expert 
in the game. 

I could not afford, of course, to set about such an 
investigation merely for my own amusement After 
waiting a decent time on the chance that I might 
be sent for by one of the Governments most 
interested in unravelling the schemes of the great 
Eurasian Power, I took the unusual step of going un* 
asked to proffer my assistance to the Ambassador of 
a Power to which I have rendered important services. 

To my surprise and chagrin I found myself re- 
pelled on the threshold, the Ambassador in question, 
a diplomatist of great experience, declaring that 
there was nothing to discover. 

' I share your disbelief in the peaceful intentions 
of the Russian Council of State/ his Excellency was 
good enough to say to me. 'But this is a matter 
with which they have really had nothing to do. 
This rescript is the outcome of the Tsar's own in- 
dividuality. He is a philanthropic young man, 
carried away by the enthusiasm natural to his age, 
and his advisers have had to give way to him. That 
is all ; and it only remains to see whether his idea is 


The explanation was a plausible one, and all the 
more so because by this time the character of the 
new ruler of Russia was fairly well known to those 
whose business it is to reckon up the personalities of 
sovereigns and statesmen. Still I was not convinced. 

'That is exactly the explanation which I should 
offer to the Foreign Offices of Europe, if I were 
M. Witte/ I ventured to observe. 

The Ambassador smiled with good humour 

'The explanation does not rest on the word of 
M. Witte, I assure you/ he answered. 'Every one 
who knows anything about Nicholas II. knows that 
he is a simple-minded, honest young man, quite 
incapable of playing a part in a comedy. As a 
matter of hct there is nothing in this rescript 
which he has not been saying in private conversa- 
tion with his family and friends any time this last 
two or three years. The German Emperor heard 
all about it long ago. Now at last he has put his 
views formally before the world iA a state paper. 


Those proposals may not be practicable, but there 
can be no doubt that they are perfectly sincere.' 

' I do not doubt the Tsar's sincerity,' I returned. 
'But knowing what I know of Russia, I want to 
understand why the Council of State have allowed 
the Tsar to have his own way.' 

This time the Ambassador's smile was less in- 


' Really, M. V , I think you are pushing your 

suspicions too far. Yoiir profession has biassed 
your mind, and caused you to see mystery where it 
does not exist You remind me of those politicians 
whom Bismarck used to say that he could always 
deceive by being perfectly frank.' 

I smiled in my turn, a little grimly, as I re- 
sponded — 

' It appears to me, your Excellency, that the coun- 
sellors of the Tsar have just taken a leaf out of 
Bismarck's book.' 

Baffled in this direction, I was casting about me 
for another client, when my secretary came in to 
me one morning with a despatch marked urgent, 
calling me to proceed immediately to Constantinople, 
where my services were required by Muzaffir Effendi, 
the eunuch highest in the confidence of Abdul 
Ham id. 

I snatched at the opening with the assurance of 
triumph. Of all states Turkey was the one most 
deeply concerned in the foreign policy of Russia. 
Of all possible clients the most desirable was the 
ruler whose secret hoards had dazzled the imagina- 
tion of every secret service agent in the world for a 
quarter of a century. 

What the business might be on which Muzaffir 
wanted me I neither knew nor greatly cared. I 
took my seat in the train that was to bear me 


towards the Balkan Peninsula^ firmly resolved that 
his business should give way to mine. 

On my way across Central Europe I found the 
papers already full of the touching story of the 
beneTolent young despot and his triumph over the 
worldly wisdom of his counsellors. I could not 
blame the journalists for being taken in by a story 
which had imposed on one of the most hard-headed 
diplomatists in Paris; I could only marvel at the 
astuteness and daring of the Muscovite statesmen 
who had contrived to turn the personal idiosyncrasies 
of their sovereign to use in their Machiavellian 

On reaching the shores of the Bosphorus I found, 
as I had anticipated, that I was wanted to disen- 
tangle a miserable intrigue of the harem, the kind- 
of work more suited to a private detective than to 
a man in my unique position. Under any other 
circumstances I should have declined the task with- 
out more ado ; as it was, I turned Muzaffir's difficulty 
into my opportunity. 

< Listen to me,' I said to the trembling eunuch, as 
soon as he had finished confiding his tale to me, ' I 
can save you, and I will save you, but only on one 
condition. And that is, that you procure me a private 
and confidential audience of the Sultan, and that 
you use your influence with him to make him grant 
the request I have to make.' 


Muzaffir, who, like all hia tribe, was a miser, 
seemed overjoyed at this cheap method of rewarding 
me. Of course, he wished to know the object I had 
in view. 

' I am going to aek the Sultan to employ me on a 
secret political mission outside the Turkish Empire, 
a mission ftrom which you hare nothing to fear. 
Your business is to persuade the Sultan to trust me 
— let that be enough.' 

Twist and wriggle as he would, the eunuch found 
he could get nothing more out of ma He gave in, 
and his influence over the mind of Abdul Hamid 
being unbounded, I quickly found myself face to 
face with the lean, dark, gaunt-oyed Asiatic who 
styles himself Commander of the Faithful and 
Shadow of God on earth. 

Abdul Hamid proved to be in a more suspiciouB 
mood than my &iend in Fans. As soon as I men- 
tioned the Feace Rescript he interrupted me. 

' I am not going to disarm. I know what the 
Christian Fowers are by this time. They always 
be^ to talk about peace when they are secretly 
preparing to attack somebody.' 

' X am afeaid your Majesty ia right The question 
is, what is the real deagn underlying this particular 
piece of hypocrisy ! ' 

' I know that, too,' was the unexpected reply. ' The 
Russians have decided to turn their attention to 


China. There they can do all that they want with a 
hundred thousand men. So it is to their interest to 
get rid of the burden of a great army which will not 
be wanted for a generation/ 

This was an ingenious idea, but it did not satisfy 
me, any more than the semi-official one had dona I 
ventured to object — 

* If that were all, sire, there would be no occasion 
for this melodramatic appeal to the other Powers. 
There is nothing to hinder Russia from reducing her 
armaments by one-half to-morrow. No one dreams 
of attacking her. Her army is kept up for offence, 
not for defenca She is the one Power that could 
afford to set the example of disbanding, and such an 
example would carry more weight than any number 
of professions on paper, however well meant.' 

The Sultan appeared struck by this reasoning. 

' Then what do you say is the object behind this 
rescript ? ' he demanded. 

'I do not know. But I undertake to find out 
if your Majesty will furnish me widi the necessary 

Abdul Hamid gave me a distrustful glance. 

'It is an expensive thing to buy information from 
the Council of State,' he grumbled. 

'You are right, sire. And the higher one goes, 
the more expensive it becomes It is clear that this 
move has been engineered by persons who are able to 




manage the Tsar himself, and such persons are not 
likely to sell their own game for much less than a 
million roubles.' 

Abdul Hamid quivered at the mention of this sum 
as though I had demanded one of the eyes out of his 

' Why should I go to this expense ? ' he objected. 
' I have already told you that I am not going to 

'The question is whether you are willing to see 
Germany and Austria disarm, leaving you to face 
Russia single-handed. Surely it is worth a hundred 
thousand pounds to Turkey to prevent her allies 
from falling into such a trap.' 

The Sultan still hesitated. 

' How do I know that I shall get anything in 
return, if I trust you with this money?' he asked 

'Your Majesty must judge me by what I have 
done already. Two days ago you had never heard 
my name. Now I am here alone with you, with a 
loaded revolver in my pocket' — the Sultan started 
violently — 'discussing the secrets of your foreign 
policy. Does that look as though I were a fool ? ' 

The Commander of the Faithful sat silent, atten- 
tively regarding me for some minutes. Finally he 
dismissed me, promising to consider my proposal 

I withdrew, confident that Abdul would consult 


his all-powerful favourite, and that Muza£Sr would 
see that I got my way. 

A week later I was back in Paris, with an auto- 
graph letter from the Sultan to his Ambassador in 
Russia, and a draft on the Ottoman Bank which I 
took the precaution to exchange for a letter of credit 
from a private Parisian banking firm to the Ephrussis 
of Petersburg. 

My intention was to go to Russia in the character 
of a French financial agent, the representative of a 
syndicate of Paris bankers, on the look-out for profit- 
able concessions from the Government of the Tsar. 
In this way I hoped to be able to approach influential 
persons without exciting suspicion, and to ascertain 
their corruptibility before exposing my secret object. 

In order to play this part it was not necessary for 
me to indulge in any actual deceit. As a matter of 
fact the demand for foreign capital to develop Rus- 
sian properties is a steadily increasing one, and I had 
no difficulty in meeting with financiers willing to con- 
stitute me their agent, to inquire into the character 
of some of the undertakings submitted to them. 

The only person I proposed to take into my con- 
fidence was the Turkish Ambassador in Petersburg, 
on whom I relied for information as to the personal 
influences at work in the Russian Court. 

It was to the Ambassador, therefore, that I paid 
my first visit on arriving in the northern capital 


His Excellency received me at first with some reserve, 
vhich iras quickly dissipated by a perusal of the 
Sultan's missive. 

'You have come to leam the truth about this 
rescript,' he remarked, 'It is certainly a new de- 
partura You disbelieve in the sincerity of the Tsar, 
I suppose ? ' 

' Not in the sincerity of the Tsar, but in the sin- 
cerity of those who make his benevolent sentiments 
the cloak of their own secret policy,' I corrected. 

The Ambassador nodded approvingly. 

' You have put your fii^r on the weak spot,' he 
responded. ' The danger in dealing with this rescript 
is that the other Powers may take it seriously owing 
to their trust in the personal character of Nicholas. 
In reality Nicholas is merely an instrument in the 
hands of three persons, without whose advice he does 
nothii^, and two of those three are themselves 
creatures of the Council of State.' 

' And the three persons are ? ' 

' They are his mother, the Dowager Empress D^- 
mar; Fobiedonostzotf, the Procurator of the Holy 
Synod; and the Grand Duko , the Tsar's con- 
stant companion and bosom friend.' 

At the sound of such names as these I was almost 
appalled at the outset. The character of the Dowager 
Empress, as much as her rank, rendered her unap- 
proachable. M. Fobiedonostzeff, although a bigot) 


was not likely to be a traitor. The Grand Duke was 
an unknown quantity, as far as I was concerned, but 
it did not seem yery probable that a personage in his 
position would prove accessible to a bribe. 

It never does to despair too soon. I put the ques- 
tion which long experience of the dark side of human 
nature has rendered habitual with me — 

' Has the Grand Duke any vices ? ' 

'He gambles a good deal in the Yacht Club.* 

I drew a breath of satisfaction. Of all men the 
gambler is the easiest to corrupt, because to him 
alone money is everything, and because there comes 
a time to every gambler when money is not to be 

' Who are his gambling companions ? ' was my next 

The Ambassador named several Russian nobles of 
high rank, among whom the leading spirit seemed 
to be a Prince Boris Mendeliefif. I was going on 
with my inquiries when his Excellency checked 

' I have told you enough, it seems to me, to enable 
you to go on by yourself. In the meantime I am the 
Ambassador of the Sultan, not his secret service 
agent, and I wish to know nothing that might com- 
promise me.' 

I respected his scruples, though they were such 
aa some Russian diplomatists would scarcely have 


understood, and proceeded to form my own plans for 
making the acquaintance of Prince HendelieS 

Fortunately the Russians are as umuspicious in 
private life as they are suspicious in politics. My 
skill as a bridge-player, a game in irhich I have so 
living superior, proved a ready passport into the 
gaming circles of Petersburg, and it was not long 
before I found myself sitting at the same card-table 
with the intimate of the Grand Duke. 

I was lucky enough to lose a considerable sum to 
him, which I paid with a good grace, and he could 
not do less than invite me to his house. I accepted 
the invitation with an eagerness which must have 
struck him as rather ill-bred, and we drove there 
tc^ether. Over a bottle of champ^ne I became 
confidential. I avowed myself to be a money-lender, 
as well as a concession-hunter, and hinted that I 
shonld be prepared to pay handsomely for intro- 
ductions to cUentB of high station. 

Hendelieff took the bait like a hungry pike. He 
was the first to mention the name of the Grand 
Duke, doubtless knowing that bis Imperial High- 
ness would be only too pleased to meet such an 
sccommodatii^ person as I appeared to be. A 
bargain was struck, and MendeUeff promised to let 
me know as soon as he had arranged for my recep- 
tion by his august patron. 

The meeting took place in the Prince's own house. 


Cards were produced, the stakes were exceedingly 
high, and rather against my wish I won steadily, 
while the losses of the Grand Duke were seyere 
enough to disturb his good humour. Mendelieff 
artfully seized the right moment to present me as a 
friend in need, and to take off the rest of the party, 
leaving us together. 

The Grand Duke lost no time in putting me to 
the proo£ 

' You are a banker, are you not, M. de Sarthe ? ' 
— De Sarthe was the name under which I had 
crossed the frontier. 

'At least, I represent some important financial 
houses,' I replied. 

'Oh, spare me that kind of thing,' his Imperial 
Highness returned impatiently, ' let us take the usual 
comedy for granted, and tell me frankly how much 
you are prepared to lend me.' 

* I do not know how much you want, sir, but 
I have any sum up to a million roubles at your 

The Grand Duke's eyes sparkled. 

'M. de Sarthe, you are a friend indeed!' he 
exclaimed. 'But what are your terms for this 
adyance ? ' 

' As £Bur as your pocket is concerned, nothing. I 
do not even ask that this loan shall ever be repaid.' 

He stared at me for a moment in astonishment. 


Then all at once his expression changed, and his 
Toice dropped to a whisper. 

'Ah I I understand. This is some a£fair of the 
secret service. You are offering me a bribe, I 

'I do not come from the Third Section, if that 
is what your Highness means. I am, as I have 
said, a financier, and my only object is to make 

' I see. You wish me to influence the Government 
on your behalf ? ' 

' Not exactly that, sir. I am in search of informa- 
tion — information which will enable me to operate 
successfully on the Paris Bourse.' 

The Grand Duke looked rather relieved , It 
was evident that he did not consider this very 

' And what is the information you want ? ' he asked. 

'It is very simple. I want to know the real bear- 
ing of the recent Peace Rescript of the Tsar. Let 
me explain,' I went on quickly, raising my hand as 
I saw he was about to speak. 'I know the surface 
explanation of the matter, but I do not believe it 
I do not believe that this rescript would ever have 
seen the light unless the Council of State had some 
purpose of their own to serve by it, and I want to 
know what that purpose is. It is not to lessen the 
burden of their own armaments ; they could do that, 


if they chose, to-morrow. This is an appeal to the 
other Powers to disarm, and I want to know why it 
has been made.' 

The Grand Duke listened to this speech in silence, 
biting his lips With an air of indecision from which I 
augured a good result 

'Tou seem to know a good deal, M. de Sarthe,' 
he said sullenly. ' Surely you must know that I am 
not in the secrets of our Foreign Office.' 

' I beiieye that, of course, if you say so, sir. But 
I belieye as well that the Tsar did not draw up this 
document without your encouragement, and that in 
encouraging the Tsar, you acted as the instrument 
of the Council of State. I am entitled to suppose 
that you were not a blind instrument, but that 
you knew pretty well why the Council were so 
ready to £Edl in with the enUiusiastic impulses of 
Nichoks IL' 

It was a bold thrust, but it went home. The 
Grand Duke gaye me a startled look, and relapsed 
into a long speU of silent pondering. Finally he 
said — 

' And supposing I were to tell you something that 
you considered it worth a million roubles to hear, 
what guarantee have I that you would not betray 
my secret ? What proof haye I even now that you 
are not a spy set on by my enemies in the Council 
of State?' 


'I will give your Highness that proof on con- 
dition that, if it is satisfactory, you will accept my 

' I consent' 

' Then all I need do is to inyite you to make your 
communication, not to me but to the Ambassador 
of the Sublime Forte, whom you will hardly 
suspect of being in the confidence of M. Pobie- 

With these words I rose to my feet. Stupefied for 
a moment, the Grand Duke recovered himself in 
time to make a detaining gesture. 

' Do not go, monsieur. What you have said com- 
pletely satisfies me. It appears that I am required 
to betray my country.' 

'That depends/ I returned smoothly. 'If the 
Council of State is plotting to betray the Tsar, as I 
understand it is, I should have thought it consistent 
with the honour of a Russian prince of the blood to 
take part in defeating their unworthy schemes.' 

This was evidenUy a new view to his Imperii 
Highness, and I could see by the expression of his 
face that it was telling powerfully. 

' Well/ he said at length, ' it seems to me that you 
have my word. When do you propose to pay me 
this money ? ' 

' Now, this moment, if your Highness pleases.' 

' Count it out, then/ was the brief injunction. 

, ■ „ au«n pile »"ef 


I obeyed. It was a singular scene as I stood 
there laying down pile after pile of greasy ten 
thousand rouble notes on a richly inlaid table, while 
one of the highest personages in the proudest 
Court of Europe or Asia stood beside me, his tall 
figure glistening with gold ornaments and jewelled 
decorations, and his dark Slavonian features flushed 
with excitement and greed. As the last note left 
my fingers, he bent down and breathed in my ear — 

' Take the Siberian railway y and use you/r eyes.' 

I am ready to admit that my first feeling, after 
hearing those few words which had cost me a hun- 
dred thousand roubles each, was one of sickening 
disappointment But a very little consideration 
served to show me that the Grand Duke had told 
me enough to place success within my reach, and 
that the information which he thus put it in my 
power to acquire by my own observation was 
calculated to be of greater value than any mere 
statement made at second-hand. 

Somewhere along the vast, just completed track 
which connects the Baltic with the Pacific lay the 
key to the true purpose of that famous rescript which 
had imposed on all the statesmen of the world, and 
only vigilance and circumspection were required 
to find it 

Never was there a journey more fraught with 
peril than that which I now undertook. I had to 


disappear from civilisation for an unknown length 
of time, and plimge into a region shrouded m 
mysterious dread, the land of prison and exile ; the 
gloomy realm which forms the background to the 
showy life of the capital beside the Neva, like a dark 
subterranean dungeon hidden beneath a glittering 

From Siberia few enemies of the Russian Govern- 
ment ever return. My safety depended on my 
keeping up the character of a financial agent, on the 
look-out for sources of wealth requiring French 
capital for their development. In that character I 
was sure of a cordial reception, and it served as a 
convenient cloak for some curiosity about the country 
I was passing through. 

Not daring to intrust my secret to a companion, 
I was obliged to go without sleep from the moment 
of leaving the Ural mountains behind. The utmost 
indulgence I could allow myself was such a light 
doze as left the attention ready to leap into activity 
at the least provocation. At every stopping place 
I got out and made a careful examination of the 
neighbourhood. The one thing I had to fear was 
the night. In the Cimmerian darkness of a northern 
winter I might have been carried past an army 
without perceiving it. 

The train by which I travelled was a long one, 
and it was increased before we entered Asia by the 


addition of an open car like a cattle-truck, contain* 
ing peasants whom I took to be prisoners. I had to 
be careful not to show myself too inquisitive, but I 
noticed at the various stations along the track that 
thqr were all young men of about the same age, 
and that they got in and out in obedience to orders 
given by officials who were armed, and whom I 
imagined to be warders or police. 

I did not consider it safe to hold much conversa- 
tion with my fellow passengers. It was probable 
that more than one spy was among them. I had 
an tmeasy sensation of being watched by invisible 
eyes, and I knew that if I once aroused real suspicion 
by my behaviour, my doom was sealed. 

So the days and nights passed, and the train crept 
on its way across the silence of the frozen continent. 
I strained my eyes in vain across the blinding waste, 
and strained my ears through the night. No sight 
or sound rewarded me, save the solitary huts of the 
railway-men and the monotonous tinkle of sleigh- 

According to my reckoning we had got nearly 
half way from the Ural to the Amur when the 
longest stage of all was reached. We ran from the 
sunset of one day to nearly noon of the next, only 
halting to take in water and fuel. Then at last the 
train entered a town of considerable importance, 
apparently a sort of depot of the line, there being 


many side-rails on which trucks were standing u 
though waiting till they should be required. 

As soon as the train stopped, I got out as usual 
with the other passengers, to stretch my legs and 
look about me. The loi^ journey and the lack of 
proper rest had so exhausted me that it was sooio 
time before I realised that there was an unusual 
lack of bustle about this particular halt. 

When at last the fact of this strange stillness ma 
borne in upon my consciousness, I roused mj^self 
to observation. At once I perceived that the alight- 
ing passengers were fewer in number than before. 
It was the troop I had mistaken for prisoners who 
were missing. I looked at the end of the trun for 
tbeir car. It was no longer there. 

We had silently slipped the wagon in the course 
of the night! 

This discovery acted on my tired bnun like m^c. 
In an instant I was again the alert, cautious in* 
vestigator whose decisions were as swift as his 
intuitions were unerring. Without hesitating I 
returned to my carriage, removed my luggage with 
the aid of a porter, and ordered a sleigh to drive 
me to the hotel. 

The guard of the train came up to me, as I was 
making these preparations, and asked me if I were 
not going on. 

'Not by your tnun,' I replied blandly. *I shall 


break my journey here, and look about me. By 
what I can see this place seems likely to be an 
important commercial centre, such as I have come 
in search of/ 

' Your Excellency is mistaken/ the man answered 
roughly. 'This place is nothing at all — only a 
dumping place for spare wagons. To-morrow we 
shall come to a really important town, where much 
business is done/ 

I gave the fellow my most supercilious stare. 
Then, pulling out a note for fifty roubles, I handed 
it to him, saying haughtily — 

' I am obliged to you for your trouble. Good day.* 

He drew back astonished and abashed, and I 
made my way out of the station, without once 
turning to see if I were followed. 

Directly I reached the hotel I threw myself on 
a bed, and slept soundly for twenty-four hours. 

I awoke refreshed and vigorous, and ready to 
carry out my task with coolness and resolution. 
Knowing myself to be in a land where every second 
man was a spy, I thought it idle to attempt any 
concealment of my actions. I was there as an 
explorer, and I determined to explore boldly. If 
the agents of the Oovemment took it on themselves 
to stop me, I knew well enough how to deal with 

My first step was to ask the landlord of the hotel 


to recommend me a guide. The man whom he 
presented to me was a typical nuyuchard, with 'spy' 
written on every line of his countenance. This was 
just what I expected. I engaged him at a liberal 
salary, and ordered him to fit out an expedition for 
a journey of some days into the interior. 

' Where do you want to go ? ' the man asked. 

' Where I please/ I replied sharply. ' Keep your 
curiosity to yourself, or take another master. I want 
a guide, not a partner.' 

This rebuke had the desired effect The police 
agent, for such of course he was, was obliged to 
come with me on my own terms. Doubtless he 
reported me to his bureau as a headstrong man 
who could not be controlled by any means save 
open force. 

At the same time I lost no opportunity of im- 
pressing the authorities with my assumed character. 
The Prefect of the to¥m called on me, and I explained 
to him that Siberia was regarded in Paris as one 
of the richest mineral regions of the earth, and that 
I was merely the pioneer of a swarm of prospectors 
who would be invading it before long. I made his 
mouth water as I talked of shares and syndicates, 
and conveyed to him that by a judicious use of 
his opportunities he might become one of the 
millionaires of the future. 

To the westward of the town, in the direction 


from which the train had brought me, there was 
visible a range of low hills, a conspicuous landmark 
in the desolate plain. It was towards these hills 
that I ordered my guide to conduct me, as soon as 
the preparations for the march were completed. 

The rascal was cunning enough to hide hif reluc- 
tance, and we set out. But after we had gone a 
day's journey I noticed that our march was steadily 
yeering away from the line of the railway, and 
taking a northerly direction. I said nothing, deter- 
mined to counteract these tactics at the right 
moment. At the end of the third day, after a slow 
progress compared with the speed of the train, we 
pitched our camp at the foot of the range, about 
forty miles, as near as I could judge, from the point 
where it was pierced by the railway. 

The next morning the caravan woimd its way 
to the summit of the ridge, and I looked do¥m on 
a broad valley, watered by a river, and broken up 
by small spurs jutting out from the main watershed 
As the guide was about to plunge down, so as to 
cross the stream, I checked him abruptly. 

' We are not going that way. I shall turn south- 
ward now, and keep along the summit of the ridge 
till we come to the railway.' 

The man's face turned as black as a thunder-cloud. 

* Tou cannot go that way,' he snorted. 




He hesitated. 

' Because it is impassable. The horses will break 

*We will go on till they do,' I answered sternly. 
' And let this be your last attempt to disobey me. At 
the next I send you back, and go on without you.' 

The man slunk forward, muttering curses, which 
I affected not to hear. But I had not yet frightened 
him sufficiently. At the next halt one of the driyers 
came to me and reported that a horse had gone lama 

' Bring it here/ I commanded 

He went away, and returned leading the animal 

'Go,' I said sternly. *Take the horse back with 
you, and take rations for three days. Do not let me 
see you again.' 

The driver looked thoroughly crestfallen. He 
slouched back to his comrades without another 

I waited till half an hour had passed, then I rose 
and walked over to the camp-fire, round which my 
followers were seated, the driver among them. 

' How is it that you are still here ? ' I demanded. 

' The horse is all right again,' was the surly answer. 

'So much the worse for you.' I took out my 
revolver in one hand, and my watch in the other. 
'In ten minutes from now I aim this revolver at 
you, and fire,' I remarked. ' It kills at two hundred 
metres. I should advise you to get out of range.' 


I do not think I have ever seen a man get through 
his preparations in less time than then. Long before 
the allotted time was up, he was well out of reach, 
galloping down the slope of the hiU. 

In every expedition through a wUd country there 
comes a moment which decides who is to be master. 
That moment past, I had no fear of further trouble. 
I was now able to unbend with the guide ; I informed 
him that I expected to find gold, and promised him 
a rich reward if I succeeded with his aid. 

But a disappointment was in store for me. Al- 
though we marched carefully along the summit of 
the hills, and I scrutinised every yard of the valley 
below with a powerful field-glass, I detected no trace 
of anything calling for investigation ; in fact, I dis- 
cerned no signs of human life. By the time I had 
worked down to the railway I began to fear that I 
was on a false scent. 

It was in the night, after we had pitched our camp 
close beside the line, that the true solution occurred 
to me. I rose and secretly crept out of my tent, 
eluding the solitary watchman, and made my way 
along the track of the rails. After groping and 
stumbling over the roughly laid road for three or 
four miles, I suddenly made a discovery. The line 
divided, sending o£f a branch rail, which curved 
away to the south. 

I knew now what had become of the missing gang 


of prisoners, or rather— for by this time I saw more 
clearly — of military recruits. 

I also knew why I had missed my way. The 
guide had led me to the north of the line, and what 
I had come so far to find lay to the south. 

The next day I issued orders to continue tiie 
march to the southward, crossing the railway. The 
face of the guide, when he received this direction, 
sufficiently showed that I was getting warm, as the 
children say, at last. He made no open remonstrance, 
but in the course of the day I noticed that another 
man and horse had disappeared. 

I paid no attention to this proof of treachery. It 
came too late to affect me. By noon of the first 
day after quitting the main line for the south, I 
was already in possession of the carefully guarded 
secret of the Council of State. 

There at my feet, along the widening Talley, lay 
a double line of rails, gleaming blue in the sunlight, 
and all across the level space at regular intervals 
stretched low banks and ditches — the lines of a 
vast encampment, capable of accommodating half a 
million men. Still further on I had a glimpse of 
the white sparkle of tents and piles of fresh-hewn 
timber, and I even fancied I could catch the faint 
hum of voices and the thud of hammers as the 
hidden army toiled away at its barracks and en- 


The meaning of the Peace Rescript was manifest 
at last, and the meaning was formidable indeed. 
While appearing to disarm in concert with the rest 
of Europe, Russia's intention was secretly to with- 
draw her enormous forces to this unsuspected retreat, 
from whence, at the decisive moment, they would 
issue like a creation of magic, to overwhelm the 
defenceless continent. 

I had made my discovery ; it was still a question 
whether I was to return with it in safety. 

Before I had made up my mind whether to push 
my observations further, I was alarmed to see a 
Botnia of Cossacks approaching, led by a Russian 
officer. My little camp was quickly surrounded, 
and the officer presented himself before me. 

It required all my nerve to deal with the emergency. 
The first words of the officer showed me that he con- 
sidered me a spy, and was prepared to hang me out 
of hand. I affected the utmost astonishment and 
indignation, and produced the papers which showed 
me to be a Frenchman travelling on behalf of various 
financial syndicates in Paris. The officer thrust 
them aside contemptuously. 

'All this is nothing to me,' he declared. 'Tou 
should not have come within reach of our camp. 
Even if I do not hang you, you will never be allowed 
to return to Europe, of that you may be assured.' 

* I will take my chance of that, captain/ I answered 


coolly. 'Living in this out-of-the-way region, you 
perhaps have not heard that France and Russia are 
in military alliance, and, besides, that the Tsar has 
declared his intention to disarm, so that your pre- 
parations here have ceased to be of the slightest 
consequence to anybody.' 

The officer was fairly staggered. He had heard, 
of course, of the French alliance, and no doubt some 
rumour as to the recent rescript had penetrated to 
the secret camp, but without its scope being very 
well understood. 

' I know that it is my duty to arrest you, at the 
very least,' he persisted. 

'As to that, you will do as you pleasa It will 
sound well in Farie that every prospector who 
ventures into Siberia with a view of developing the 
resources of the country exposes himself to the 
treatment of a spy. M. Witte will find it takes 
some persuasion to secure another French loan.' 

It is needless to give further details of a conversa- 
tion in which the ignorance of the Russian gave 
me a very great advantage over him. I am vnin 
enough to plume myself on having made use of the 
treacherous rescript to out-mEmceuvre its authors. In 
saying that, of course, I do not refer to Nicholas II., 
who perhaps did not even know of the existence of 
the hidden camp. 

In the end the Cossack officer decided to escort 


me back to the town where I had left the train, 
and hand me over to the civil authorities, a decision 
which was assisted by the usual methods of per- 
suasion in the East. My friend the Prefect, already 
predisposed in my favour, required a somewhat 
heavier bribe, and finally I made assurance doubly 
sure by resuming my journey eastward, and leaving 
Russian territory by way of the Chinese frontier. 

It was from the first telegraph station in the 
Celestial Empire that I sent the cipher despatch to 
Constantinople which was destined to render abortive 
the much-talked-of Conference at the Hague : 

'Russia preparing enormous concealed ca/mp in 
Siberia, beside railway, to hide forces when nominally 
disbanded, I have seen it* 

Abdul Hamid was too shrewd to take any open 
part in opposing the Russian proposals, but when 
I saw the firm stand made against them by the 
German representatives, I knew that he had not 
thrown my telegram into the waste-paper basket. 

It only remains to add that the Russian Govern- 
ment, realising that its secret had been betrayed, 
stealthily set to work to efface every sign of the 
concealed camp ; and that, if my latest information 
be correct, the mysterious valley is again given over 
to silence and to solitude. 


Gut di Maupassant once remarked to me that it 
was necesaary to preserve the Anarchists in order to 
make modem history interesting. 

The rulers of the world seem to be of the same 
opinioa Over and over af^ain scientists and men of 
common sense have told them that the Anarchist is 
simply a diseased mind, requiring to be dealt with 
like other brain-sick creatures. But statesmen and 
police alike have persisted in treating the Anarchist 
aa a serious politician, with results which are, unfor- 
tunately, too well known. 

It is true that, after the death of Elizabeth of 
Austria, the chiTalrous King of Italy, Hmubert, 
summoned a conference of diplomatists and poUce 
directors in Venice to consider methods for dealing 
with the Anarchists. But he would have done better 
to call in ProfesBor Lombroso. I myself would imder- 
take to guarantee the life of every ruler in Europe 


and America, for the sum of £20,000 a year, provided 
I were allowed to incarcerate in an asylum every man 
whom I could prove to be a su£ferer from homicidal 

As it was, I foreboded that the only result of King 
Humbert's gallant action would be to point him out 
to these creatures as their next victim. Yet I must 
now so &a confess myself mistaken as to declare that 
the death of the late King of Italy does not really lie 
at the door of Anarchism. 

It was another European sovereign, more alive to 
the realities of the situation than Humbert, who 
secretly commissioned me to make an investigation 
into the organisation of the Anarchist sect and the 
trend of its operations. I must not disclose the name 
of this monarch ; to do so would be to point him out 
to the vengeance of the assassins. 

As soon as I had received his commission I laid 
aside all my other work and prepared to disappear for 
an indefinite period. 

Hy first step was to transform myself into a work- 
man, or rather a loafer, for an industrious workman 
is seldom found among the 'active' Anarchista I 
secured a few jobs in Paris as a house-painter's 
labourer — that is to say, I did the scraping and clean- 
ing before the skilled workman applied the fresh 
coats of paint. I took care to show no zeal in my 
employment, and in the intervals of work I himg 


about the brasseries and grumbled at the smallness 
of my earnings. 

By these tactics I quickly earned the reputation of 
a good comrade, and a true-hearted Republican. The 
Socialists of the quarter I had chosen to work in 
quickly recognised me as a likely convert, and I 
allowed them to enrol me in one of the most advanced 

All these measures were mere preliminaries to the 
final one of blossoming forth as a declared Anarchist 
It is from the ranks of Socialism that Anarchism 
draws its recruits. Though the two theories are 
utterly opposed, they express the same discontent 
with civilisation. An Anarchist is little more than 
a Socialist who has gone out of his mind. 

By going over to the Anarchist group from the 
arms of their rivals,. I ensured myself a welcome 
which would never have been given to me had I 
attempted to force myself upon them at the outset 

Among the Anarchists it was necessary to adopt 
rather different tactics. I had now to play the part 
of a dangerous lunatic, only awaiting direction from 
some superior mind to commit an act of violence. 

Paris itself is not an important Anarchist centre. 
The French police are too quick witted for their 
capital to be a comfortable residence for these des- 
peradoes. The three great centres, as most people 
know, are Zurich, London, and Jersey City, X7.S.A. 


Ztlrich is the Russian headquarters, and is rather a 
place for Nihilists than international Anarchists. I 
therefore decided to cross over to London, in the 
hope of commg into touch with the leading minds of 
the sect 

In London I found myself received without the 
least suspicion. My carefully prepared record stood 
me in good stead. I was introduced by my Parisian 
comrades as a promising convert from Socialism, 
and no one inquired further. 

I found the London Anarchists torn by internal 
dissensions which left them no time to think of 
attacking kings and queens. The first man I was 

asked to murder was Prince , the leader of the 

idealist group, whose sole offence was his refusal to 
concur in the homicidal programme of the active 

I refused to execute this mandate, on the plea that 
I had vowed to put to death a crowned head, and 
could not afford to risk my life in the pursuit of 
humbler prey. 

I may state here that the elaborate machinery 
of secret meetings, oaths, ballots, and so on has 
no esistence except in the imagination of popular 
novelists. Their fantastic descriptions can only pro- 
voke a smile on the part of any one who has been 
behind the scenes of Anarchism. 

The Anarchists are a fluctuating community, here 


to-day and gone to-morrow, among whom a few lead- 
ing spirits who have learned to know and trust each 
other by actual experience exercise an influence much 
like that exercised by the Front Bench over a Parlia- 
mentary party in England, an influence which varies 
with their own concord and strength of character. 

When these leaders find a man whom they see to 
be a suitable instrument, they bring their influence to 
bear on him to carry out whatever object they may 
agree upon. In some cases perhaps a pantomimic 
scene is arranged, such as we read of in romances, 
to impress a weak mind. I can only say that I never 
saw anything of the sort 

A well-known Anarchist, whose name would be 
recognised immediately were I to mention it, took 
me aside one night, and suggested to me the removal 
of the Prince. I gave the answer I have mentioned, 
and the proposal was instantly dropped. 

My refusal was followed, naturally enough, by an 
attempt on my own life. Two days afterwards 
the editor of an Anarchist paper, who had taken 
rather a fitncy to me, came round to my lodgings 
before daybreak and advised me to leave for America. 
He gave me no reason for this advice, but he was 
very urgent with me, and insisted on writing me a 
letter of introduction to a man living in Jersey City. 
I promised to consider the matter, and he bade me 


On leaving my lodging an hour later to go and 
look for a job — the customary pretence — I discovered 
immediately that I was being followed. I need 
scarcely say that for me to baffle the clumsy espion- 
age of such blunderers would have been the easiest 
thing in the world. But I wished to see how far they 
would go, and I allowed my tracker to follow me all 
day. At night I went do¥m to the Thames Embank- 
ment I placed myself on the edge of the river steps 
by Cleopatra's Needle, and waited. 

I am a good swimmer, and I did not think it likely 
that my enemy would use a weapon if he thought he 
could get rid of me by the simple method of pushing 
me into the water. A pistol would be too dangerous 
for himself on account of the report. I had seen that 
he did not carry a stick. He was probably armed 
with a knife, and he might try and give me a thrust 
with it as he pushed me over ; but a knife-thrust in 
the back is not a very serious thing to a man who 
has been in the habit of wearing a mail shirt for 
twenty years. 

I am ready to confess that my heart beat &ster as 
I heard the stealthy tread coming up behind me. 
To my surprise the would-be assassin paused before 
he had got within striking distance, and shuffled with 
his feet on the flags. Puzzled by these tactics I 
glanced round and saw a young man, not more than 
twenty years of age, whose face was white, and who 


was trembling in every limb. At once I grasped the 
situation. The poor wretch's heart had failed him, 
and he was trying to put me on my guard against 
himself, in order that he might have an excuse for 
not carrying out his task. 

I walked past him without a word, shook him off 
in the course of the next hour, and took the last 
train to Liverpool 

On my arrival in the States, I lost no time in 
seeking out the man to whom my editpr friend had 
furnished me with an introduction. To the European 
reader it may be worth while to explain that Jersey 
City practically joins on to New York, so that it is 
really a suburb of the American metropolis. 

I was received with open arms by this man — an 
Italian named Ferretti — and I became a member of 
the most influential Anarchist club. Among those I 
sometimes played dominoes with there was a long- 
haired dreamer named Bresci, a visitor from Patersoa 
All this time I passed under the name of Lebrua 
My American citizenship I carefully concealed. 

I soon saw that some one had informed the 
American group of my being bound by oath to 
kiU a crowned head. On all hands I was treated 
with the deference due to a prospective martyr. 
It was not long before Ferretti himself began to 
sound me as to my willingness to make Humbert 
of Italy my victim. 


" I walked past him without a word." 


I was catefiil not to discourage this suggestion 
as I had the one made to me in London. I listened 
to all Ferretti had to say with apparent acquiescence. 

' Humbert has placed himself at the head of our 
enemies/ he urged. 'This Venice conference is a 
declaration of war. If we wish to maintain our 
moral ascendency we must strike a blow which will 
intimidate other rulers from proceeding against us.' 

As soon as I could get away I went into New 
York and sent a code telegram to my secretary in 
Paris for him to decipher and send on to the King of 
Italy. It was in these terms : ' Anarchists in Jersey 
City, U.S,A,, a/re looking for Tnan to send against 
you. Have ports watched.' 

Unfortunately the King paid no attention to this 
warning. He was a fatalist, it seem& 

Ferretti returned to the charge before long. I 
kept him in play, neither consenting nor refusing, 
my object being, of course, to retain his confidence. 
I did not want another man to be despatched instead 
of me without my knowledge. 

It was not long before others beside Ferretti began 
to try and influence me in the same direction. It 
is difficult to trace the first birth of suspicion in the 
mind, but a suspicion was bom in mine that these 
men had some motive which they had not yet 
disclosed to me for urging me to this attempt. 

I tested them at last by making a counter-proposal 


It was in the club, late one night, and there were 
present, beside Ferretti, another Italian who called 
himself ' The Bear/ a bearded Qerman named Peters, 
and a Swiss watchmaker, who was lame and used 
crutches. These four seemed to have a common 

Peters had been acting as spokesman, and strongly 
denouncing the proceedings at Venice, which he 
described as an abandonment of the methods of 
civilisation — a curious complaint for an Anarchist 
to maka 

Ferretti applied the moral 

' Some one must be found to avenge us,' he declared. 
'If Humbert is suffered to live, our principles are 

' I am not sure of that/ I answered. ' Humbert is 
not a politician. He has been stirred up because 
Luccheni killed a woman, which, in my opinion, was 
an unwise action. We ought to choose our victims 
more carefully. It is absurd to pick off a man like 

Humbert, when there are such enemies as and 


My remarks were received in ominous silence. The 
other four exchanged looks of disappointment. The 
Bear was the first to protest 

' It is the curse of Anarchism that every one wants 
to have his own opinion. It seems to me that when 
men like ourselves, who have guided the movement 


for years, are agreed on the right course of action, a 
new comrade ought to accept our decision.' 

I did not retort that the word Anarchist, if it 
meant anything, meant one who had his own 
opinion and refused to be guided by the agree- 
ment of others. There is nothing a fanatic resents 
so much as reason, except ridicula Listead, I 
affected to be stirprised. 

'Do you mean that you disapprove of the exe- 
cution of V I demanded, naming a man 

whose reputation for cruelty and bigotry was world 

'The removal of Humbert ought to come first,' 
was the answer. 

'Do you say that deliberately? Have all our 
comrades made up their minds, or is it merely your 
own opinion?' 

'It is the judgment of us four,' said The Bear. 
* That ought to be enough.' 

' We are willing to provide funds for any comrade 
who will undertake the mission,' added Peters. 

' But not for any other mission, such as one against 
? ' I ventured to object. 

' We have not said that We are ready to consider 
an application.' 

The last answer came from the lame watchmaker, 
who had kept his eyes fixed on me with a close 
Bcrutiny during the whole conversation. It was 



evident that this man was more cautious than the 
other three, and that he had begun to distrust ma 
Perhaps he thought I was a boaster; perhaps his 
suspicions went deeper. 

'Well, I am not under anybody's orders/ I said, 
rising to my feet ' Show me that I can serve the 
cause better by Humbert's removal than any one 
else's, and I will take the mission/ 

The four let me come away in silence. I had 
now no doubt whatever that there was some very 
strong motive in the background behind all this 
talk about the Venice conference, and I sent a 
fresh wire to the threatened King — 'American 
grov/p ahsolutdy determined on yov/r deaih, and 
offering bribea.' 

This telegram was treated with the same in- 
difiference as its predecessor. 

Ferretti was naturally more inclined to trust me 
than were the others, thanks to my London friend's 
recommendation. I was, therefore, not surprised to 
receive a call from him the next day, and to find that 
he was at last going to show his hand* 

'It is right, is it not,' he began, 'that you are 
prepared to undertake the removal of one of our 
enemies, provided you are satisfied that you are 
doing good to the cause ? ' 

'That is all I ask,' I responded; 'Humbert or 
another, what does it matter to me 7' 

• ^* 








'You don't consider that the fact that Humbert 
has taken a leading part against us marks him 
out for destruction ? ' 

' No, I don't ; I don't believe he is any worse than 
the others.' 

' Very well ; admitting that, for the sake of argu- 
ment; if I were to prove to you that Humbert's death 
would benefit the cause specially in other ways, what 
would you say ? ' 

'If I believed that, I should most likely con- 

'Good! That is what I expected. Now you 
understand that what I am going to tell you must 
be in the very greatest confidence.' 

I nodded. 

'The removal of Humbert will put funds at our 
disposal for other work.' 

At last I was on the trail Carefully concealing 
my excitement under an appearance of natural curi- 
osity, I inquired : ' How is that, comrade ? ' 

'You must not ask too much. I have only got 
authority to tell you that it is so. A sum of money 
will be ours as soon as Humbert is dead.' 

' And you will not tell me how or why ? ' 

Ferretti hesitated. 

'It has been promised us — guaranteed to us, in 
fact — by one who has reasons of his own for wanting 
to see Humbert out of the way/ 


'I don't like the sound of that/ I objected. 
' It sounds as though we were being hired as private 

Ferretti's face fell. 

'I am afraid I cannot tell you anything more 
without consulting others/ he said slowly. ' I will 
swear to you, if you like, that it is not a case of 
private revenge. The person behind us has public 
reasons for his conduct, though they are not the 
same as ours.' 

This statement threw me into a brown study. 
What public reasons could any one possibly have 
for the removal of the King of Italy ? The Gari- 
baldians? No, they were not assassins — ^besides, 
they would not have come to America to get a 
suitable instrument There were plenty nearer at 

' Listen to me/ I said at lengtL ' When I took 
a vow to rid the world of a crowned head at the risk 
of my own life, I did not undertake to become a 
blind tool in the hands of any one elsa I owe no 
obedience to you or our comrades. I say what I 
said last night— convince me that I ought to kill 
Humbert, and I will. But it is no good if you can't 
trust me. Why should I trust you with my life, 
when you won't trust me with your reasons for want- 
ing this King out of the way ? ' 

Ferretti was staggered. 


' I will tell the others what you say/ he declared. 
' For my part, I think your demand is reasonable.' 

He left me, but did not come back. Days passed, 
and no further overture was made to me. On the 
contrary, the lame Swiss began to talk to me about 
the other victims I had pointed out, and to encourage 
me to fix on one of them. 

I was able to guess what had happened. The four 
were looking for a more docile tool. 

I sent oif a third wire : 

' / have lost touch with the conspiracy. From this 
moment I no longer anstverfor your life.' 

This warning was not even shown to the doomed 

I now adopted a course which I had put off as 
long as possible, on account of the risk involved. I 
secretly engaged a second lodging at a distance, 
where I could disguise myself as I pleased, and 
began to shadow the Anarchist leaders. 

It was a dangerous game to play, because such 
men were accustomed to find themselves the sub- 
ject of police surveillance, and would probably be 
quick to detect anything of the sort. My only 
chance of success lay in the fact that I already 
possessed so much knowledge of their movements 
as to make the task of watching them a compara- 
tively easy one. 

I had come to the conclusion that the real head 


of the group was the crippled Swiss. This man kept 
a small shop, chiefly for repairs, in the heart of the 
Italian quarter. I made up as a Corsican, to account 
for any imperfections of accent, and himg about the 
neighbourhood, begging. 

Ferretti, Peters, and The Bear were frequent 
visitors, and the simpleton Bresci called once or 
twice, but for some days I saw nothing that I could 
fix upon as having a suspicious look. I remembered, 
however, that the lame watchmaker had always 
been missing from the gatherings at the club 
on Saturday nights, and I looked forward to making 
some discovery when the end of the week arrived. 

I was not disappointed, though I had to wait so 
long that I almost gave up hope. Just as the clock 
struck ten a tall, swarthy figure brushed right by 
me, and slipped into the little shop. The moment 
after, the lame man came out into the street, and 
began putting up the shutters. 

It was necessary to act promptly. I stepped up 
to the Swiss and whispered my assumed name in 
his ear. 

' Lebrun ! You I ' he ejaculated in astonishment 
' I thought you were one of the police.' 

'It is the other way about,' I answered. *The 
police have been after me ; that is why I have had 
to disguise myself. But let us come inside, I want 
to talk to you.' 


As I expected, he tried to prevent me going 

' No, not there. I have some one on business/ 

' Business of the cause ? ' I demanded. 

'Yes — ^no, private business.' 

' I will wait in the shop till he is gone/ I returned, 
and pushed my way through the door, the cripple 

The tall, dark figure started to its feet in evident 
alarm as we entered. I saw a bro¥m hand glide 
towards the bosom, an action which told me that I 
was not dealing with a European. In the dim light 
of the little shop I could not fix the stranger's 
nationality more precisely. He did not seem to be 
an Arab ; he was above the grade of a negro. If I 
had met him in Algiers I should have called him a 
Sudanese, a convenient term for the unknown races 
of Africa. 

The situation was a complicated one. The watch- 
maker, it was evident, did not more than half believe 
my account of myself; I could not tell that the 
stranger really had any connection with the mystery 
I wanted to unravel ; and he must have been utterly 
confounded by my intrusion. 

' Is your friend one of us ? Does he know any- 
thing about the business you put before me the other 
day ? ' I asked of the Swiss in Italian. 

Before the Swiss could do more than give me a 


warning gesture, the unknown had addressed him 
in the sort of Italian which forms the common 
speech of seamen in the Levant. 

' Is this the man you thought you could persuade 
to undertake the work ? ' 

The watchmaker was fiEtirly cornered. 

'Go inside and I will speak to you/ he said to 
the swarthy outlander ; then he added, speaking in 
quick French to me — ' I must have some explanation 
with yoii before I trust you again.' 

'That will not do for me/ I returned, sticking 
to my Italian and trying to render it intelligible 
to the unknown. 'You have asked me to do a 
dangerous work on behalf of the cause; very well, 
I am ready to do it, but first I insist on knowing 
who is going to provide the sinews of war. That is 
fair, it seems to me.' 

This time the stranger's tone became peremptory. 

' Why do not you wish me to speak to this man ? 
he asked. 

The shopkeeper scowled at both of us by turns. 

'Because I don't know that he is right/ he 

' How do I know that you are right ? ' I retorted 
'It appears you are going to have a big price for 
this business, and you want me to shut my eyes 
and not ask what becomes of the money.' 

The Swiss wrung his hands in despair. I believe 


that he was quite honest, and that he wished for 
the money in order to spread his atrocious principles; 
while his distrust of me was only too well founded. 

I addressed myself boldly to the imknown. 

' I am your man, I believe. Tell me who you are, 
and why you want this job carried out, and I will 
undertake it. As for the money, you may hand 
that over to my comrade here, as long as I know 
how much it is.' 

This last oifer turned the balance. The Swiss 
himself proposed that we should come into the 
back shop and talk things over in confidence. 

When we were all three seated together, it was 
the watchmaker who gave me the long-sought ex- 
planation in a few words. 

' This man is an Abyssinian. He has come here 
on behalf of the Emperor Menelik.' 

' Menelik ! ' I exclaimed in astonishment. ' What 
has he got to do with us ? ' 

' Nothing directly ; but if you have read the papers 
you must know that Humbert was the moving spirit 
in the Abyssinian war. He made peace after Adowa, 
under pressure from the Crown Prince, who told him 
the djmasty was in danger. But Menelik believes 
that the King is secretly preparing for a fresh attack. 
He is in league with the British, who are advancing 
from the Sudan. The Abyssinians want to clear 
the Italians out of their coimtry altogether, and 


they can never do that while Humbert is aliya 
That is how it stands, isn't it ? ' 

This last question was addressed to Menelik's 
agent. The Abyssinian answered by a smile that 
showed his formidable white teeth. 

'The King of Italy is the enemy of Abyssinia 
The King of Italy must die. If an Abyssinian tries 
to kill him, he will be suspected, and stopped ; there- 
fore he must be killed by a European. The Negus 
has sent me to find a European who will do this 
for money. I have been in Italy and France, and 
there they told me that it was best for me to apply 
to the followers of your religion, which teaches that 
all kings ought to be killed. Is it not so ? There- 
fore I come here, to the headquarters of your sect 
If one of you will accept the task, on that day I 
pay him in the money of this country one thousand 
dollars. On the day I hear that King Humbert is 
dead I pay you four thousand doUars. Divide it 
how you like ; that is nothing to ma' 

Improbable as a fairy tale though all this sounded, 
I could not resist the evidence of my own senses, 
which showed me the Abyssinian envoy there in 
the flesh. I knew, of course, that assassination has 
always been one of the recognised political methods 
of Asiatic and African States, but this alliance 
between a half-civilised despot and the extreme 
revolutionaries of Europe struck me as altogether 


without precedent in the history of the world. 
Certainly my own experience, fertile as it naturally 
huH been in surprising incidents, had never brought 
to light a more singular intrigue than this. 

My position now became an extremely difficult one. 
I had practically agreed to accept the commission 
to assassinate the King of Italy, but it waa not 
that which troubled me. I foresaw that as soon as 
Menelik's agent realised that he had been played 
with by me he would endeavour to find some other 
and more trustworthy tool To denounce him to 
the police of New York would have been perfectly 
idle; in the first place he could buy the police, 
and in the second place no American court would 
punish a ' political ' conspiracy, unless, indeed, it were 
against the United States. 

I contented myself for the moment with formally 
undertaking the required murder. The Abyssinian 
arranged to bring the first instalment of the blood 
money to the watchmaker's house on the following 
Saturday night, and we all three parted apparently 
on the best of terms. 

The next day I sent off a long telegraphic de- 
spatch summarising the whole situation. The pro- 
posal I made was that the Italian Government 
should cable me authority and funds to enable me 
to have the Abyssinian envoy privately kidnapped, 
and returned to his own country, vid HassowaL 


They had the incredible folly to wire instead to 
their Minister in Washington, instructing him to 
demand the arrest and expulsion of Menelik's s^ent 

The net result of this ill-considered action was to 
flood the Italian quarter of Jersey City for several 
days with sham detectives, to cause a thousand or 
two dollars to pass into the pockets of the local 
Tammany, and to compel me to hasten my de- 
parture for Europe on my supposed mission, in order 
to rebut the suspicions of the Anarchists — and, in 
fact, to escape their vengeance. 

The night before my departure there was a little 
supper at the club, at which the four were present. 
No open reference was made to the object of my 
journey. But after supper the half-witted Bresci, 
who had been one of the party, asked leave to walk 
home with me. 

' I wish I were going with you,' he said suddenly. 

' I wish I could put you in an asylum, where you 
would be taken care of,' was my thought in answer. 
I said aloud that I had reasons for going alone. 

'I know those reasons,' the enthusiast declared. 
' Let me come with you. I am not afraid.' 

For a moment I hesitated. A king's life was in 
the balance, though I did not know it 

I made the clever man's common mistake — I 
underrated the strength of the fooL 

' Take my advice/ I said to Bresci, ' leave this work 


to men like me. You are not suited for it: you 
would betray yourself directly/ 

His face became overcast, and he relapsed into a 
sullen silence which lasted till I parted from him 
at my own door. 

An hour before stepping on board the steamer 
that was to convey me to Havre I sent off a final 
wire : * Am leaving to-day for Europe, pledged to kill 
King Hwrnheri! 

This bitter shaft of contempt roused even the 
Italian police into activity. On landing at the 
French port I was met by a detective sent from 

I took him with me to a hotel, where we discussed 
the situation in a private room. 

'It seems to me that we are all right for the 
present/ he urged. 'As long as they think you 
are going to carry out the work they are not likely 
to send any one else.' 

' Do not be too sure/ 1 answered. ' There is a lame 
watchmaker over there who does not quite trust me.' 

' What do you propose to do ? ' asked the detective. 

' To shoot King Humbert/ I replied. 

The man gasped at me in sheer amazement. 

'I am going to put you to a practical test/ I 
explained. 'I am going to try and discharge a 
blank cartridge at the King. If you can prevent 
my doing so, I shall hope that his life is safe.' 


' But what do you expect ub to do ? We cannot 
arrest you.' 

'No; that is my point Tou know that I am 
goii^ to kill your King, and yet the lav does not 
permit you to interfere till you see me put my finger 
to the trigger of my revolver.' 

' We can stop you at the frontier,* 

' Try,' I said drily. 

He tried. A week later I wu in Rome. 

In reality I did not intend to go quite bo far as I 
had threatened. To do so would have been offensive 
to his Majesty. What I desired was to put the 
police thoroughly on the alert. I hoped to stimulate 
them into taking precautions which would be effective 
against a real assassin. 

For I knew better than to think that Menelik's 
envoy would go away satisfied with havii^ de- 
spatched me on the errand of death. I did not 
believe the swardiy figure with the formidable white 
teeth would leave New York till he had received 
some certain assurance of the success of his murderous 

Before leaving the United States I had arranged 
with my old employers, Pinkerton's, to have a watch 
kept on all outward-bound vessels, so that I might 
receive the earliest information of any move on the 
part of the Abyssinian. I had supplied them with 
a full description of the man. 


Meanwhile the Italian police did their best, 
hampered as they were by the King's chivalrouB 
disr^ard of danger, and his dislike of surveillance. 
Itisnot an easy thing to guard a monarch against 
his will 

As soon as I had satisfied myself that my disguise 
as an Italian workman was impenetrable, I went 
northward after the doomed King. As my train 
rolled into the station at Turin, I caught a glimpse 
on the platform of a white fEtce with long draggled 
hair and a haunted expression in the eyes — a face 
that I had last seen in a Jersey City slum at mid- 
nighty more than a month ago. 

Long before the train stopped I had leapt out of 
my compartment in hot pursuit; but Bresci had 

I went instantly to the chief police-officer in Turin 
and gave information. Detectives were despatched 
in all directions to search the city; but it was too 

The following morning a telegram was put into 
my hands before I' got out of bed. It was from 
Pinkerton's, and contained these words: *Man 
answering description has just hooked passage to 

This despatch convinced me that the situation 
was desperate. Coupling the news with the sight 
of the evening before^ I could not doubt that the 


Abyssinian agent expected to hear within the next 
few hours that his dreadful end was achieved. 

I (kessed in feverish haste and rushed round to 
the police-office, only to learn that no arrest had 
been made, and Bresci was still at large. 

'Unless that man is apprehended within the 
next twenty-feur hours, King Humbert will have 
ceased to live,' I told the astonished chief of 

In this extremity I decided to proceed to Monza, 
see the King myself, and implore him not to stir 
abroad until Bresci's capture was notified. That 
afternoon, as I entered the small tO¥m of Monza, I 
was arrested on suspicion ! 

It was in vain that I protested, warned, and 
threatened. My demand to be carried before King 
Humbert was regarded as a proof of guilt. My dis- 
closure of my identity was suspected as a ruse. I 
was confined in a cell while telegrams were being 
exchanged with my friend the Italian detective, and 
with my secretary in Paris. 

Suddenly, as I tramped impatiently up and down 
within my narrow bounds, I was aware of a terrible 
commotion outside. Men ran past the door of my 
prison, curses and cries were heard, and there was a 
sound of bayonets being fixed. Maddened by the 
nervous tension, I battered with my manacled hands 
against the cell door. 

" * ^'ou are free,' lie said briefly, ' The right man has been arrested, 


It was flung open from without, and an anned 
warder faced ma 

' Tou are free/ he said briefly. ' The right man has 
been arrested — too late.' 

I sank down on the pknk seat and burst inta 



The readers of my proTious revelations will have 
noticed that I have constantly been engaged in 
thwarting the schemes of the cunning rulers of 
Russia. This has been to me a labour of love. My 
father, as I have said, was a native of Poland, and I 
have avenged his wrongs on the Grovemment which 
drove him forth to exile. 

I have already related how I exposed and defeated 
the insidious design concealed under the Peace Re- 
script of Nicholas II. Hardly had this audacious 
intrigue miscarried when Europe was startled to 
hear that the Ministers of the Imperial peacemaker 
had overthrown the ancient liberties of Finland, in 
order to swell the Finnish contingent to the armies 
of the Tsar. 

This time I admit that I was deceived, like every- 
body else. The brutal frankness of the proceeding 
disarmed suspicion. When Russia openly declares 
herself a tyrant, it is difficult to believe she is 



But there was one man in Europe who saw that 
there was more in the proceedings against Finland 
than met the eye. This was a monarch whose genius 
and nobility of character would have placed him at 
the head of living rulers had he been bom to the 
command of a great Power instead of a small and 
distracted State. I need scarcely say that I refer 
to his Majesty, King Oscar of Sweden and Norway. 

It was with peculiar satisfaction that I received a 
confidential summonjs from this King, whose fine 
qualities I had long admired, and by whom I felt 
it a distinction to be trusted. I was far from guess- 
ing the real nature of the business on which I was 
to be employed. 

As the message did not come to me through the 
Scandinavian Minister in Paris, but was a private 
autograph communication from King Oscar himself, 
I was disposed to think his Majesty wanted me to 
adjust some family affSsdr. It is well known that the 
Bemadottes are not more free from such anxieties 
than other royal houses. 

On my arrival at the beautiful capital of Sweden, 
I put up at the Hotel Rydberg, entering myself as 
the Baron de Neuville, on tour. The same evening 
I was called upon by one of the King's intimate 
friends, the Count Soderhielm, who took me across 
to the Palace, and introduced me into King Oscar's 
private cabinet. 


I noticed as we crossed the Place Gustavus 
Adolphus that the flag was not hoisted on ihe 
Palace. His Majesty was supposed to be at Drott- 
ningholm, from which place he had come secretly 
in a small launch for the purpose of our interriew. 

As soon as Count Sdderhielm had presented me 
to his Majesty, he retired to the antechamber, 
leaving us together. 

' Perhaps you are wondering what I have sent for 
you to do ? ' King Oscar began. 

' At least, I do not doubt that any service on which 
your Majesty employs me will be an honourable 
one,' I answered respectfully. 

The Kmg smiled. 

' I have not sent for you to pay me compliments,' 
he said rebukingly. ' Let me first ask if it is true 
that you are no friend to the Russian Government ? ' 

I looked at the King in some surprise. 

' It is better for me to tell you, sire, that I do not 
allow my private feelings to enter into my work 
The Russian Government has employed me before 
now, and may do so again ; in which case I should 
serve it as loyally as I hope to do your Majesty/ 

The King did not seem ill-pleased by this frank- 

' I respect you for that answer,' he said graciously. 
'I ought not to liave asked you for your personal 


' I am a Pole by my father's side, sire/ I threw in. 
King Oscar thanked me for this hint by a nod. 

* Let us come to business. Tou have taken note, 
I expect, of this determination to Russianise Fin- 

I bowed, restraining my curiosity at this un- 
expected opening. 

' You know that Finland is an ancient province of 
the Swedish Crown, and that when it was united to 
Russia, after the fedl of Napoleon, my ancestor, the 
then Crown Prince Bemadotte, was authorised to 
take Norway as a compensation ? ' 

* I do, sire.' 

'Perhaps you know also that the exchange has 
been a disastrous one for Sweden. The Finns were 
contented and happy under our rule, while the 
Norwegians have done nothing but quarrel with the 
Swedes for a centuiy.' 

' I have heard something of this,' I responded. 

•Now as long as Fmland held the position of a 
semi-independent State, over which the Tsar ruled 
as errand Duke of Finland, it was possible for us to 
regard her as a buffer between us and Russia. We 
had every reason to hope that if the Russians wished 
to attack us, they would have to subdue Finland 

'I was hardly aware of that, sire.' 

' It is the fact The Finnish civilisation is really 


Swedish, our language is spoken there, and the 
Swedish element in the population looks on Sweden 
as its real home. Very good. That being so, the 
Russians have decided to conquer Finland in time 
of peace, under the cloak of administrative measures.' 

'Your Majesty means that this attack on Finland 
is really an attack on Sweden and Norway ?' 

' It is the first step towards an attack on Sweden,' 
King Oscar answered, with significance. ' The ques- 
tion of Norway is the matter about which I have 
sent for you.' 

I gazed at the King in astonishment. 

' I am the King of Norway as well as of Sweden,' 
his Majesty pursued, 'and you must not think I 
favour one country more than the other. But I 
might as well be King at the same time of France 
and Germany, for any real harmony there is between 
the two countries. The Norwegians are working 
for absolute separation ; the Swedes will grant them 
everything except the right to make war on Sweden; 
and yet they cannot agree.' 

' You fear, sire, that the Norwegians will fight in 
order to secure theiripidependence.' 

' I fear it is rather the other way about/ the King 
answered sorrowfully. 'They aim at independence 
in order to be able to fight You see me in the 
position of a father whose two children are ready to 
rush at one another's throats, and who cannot show 


kkidness to one without incurring the hatred of the 
other. This situation has poisoned the peace of 
mind of every sovereign of Scandinavia for a hundred 
years. It broke my grandfather^s heart.' 

I listened to this sad confession with respectful 
sympathy. King Oscar proceeded- 

'Let me tell you some mora Before the last 
Russo-Turkish war, the geography of the Balkans 
had been made for a year the special study of the 
Military School in Petersburg. Last month the 
geography of Scandinavia was given a similar pre- 
cedence. That is not alL A swarm of Russian 
officers, disguised as woodcutters, have been coming 
over ihe northern frontier, and making their way 
down through Sweden, surveying the country as 
they go.' 

* Surely they can be arrested as spies I ' 

'We dare not,' was the response. 'That would 
be forcing Russia's hand. We can only watch, and 
await developments.' 

' The (Germans ought to know of this,' I ventured 
tp remark 

' The (Germans are more afraid of Russia than we 
are,' the King answered. ' Germany is no longer a 
first-class Power. There are in fact only four Powers 
of the first magnitude to-day, Great Britain, Russia, 
the United States, and China. The two English 
Powers together could dictate to the world, but they 


are divided by the childish American jealousy. 
China is still asleep. Consequently all the other 
Powers of Europe are little more than vassals of 
the Tsar. France has openly placed herself under 
his protection. Austria has become Russia's junior 
partner in the Balkans. The independence of 
Germany is only nominal; the Emperor takes his 
time from Petersburg. No other country counts/ 

It was the first time that I had heard the situation 
summed up with such pitiless plainnes& 

' You consider, then, that Russia is actually about 
to draw the sword ? ' I asked. 

'No, she will leave us to do that. Russia has 
discovered that her conquests advance better under 
the cloak of peaca She means to take Norway 
under cover of a declaration in favour of Norwegian 

'But the Norwegians — are they mad enough to 
become parties to that ? Do they want to exchange 
King Log for King Stork ?' 

' Go and see,' was King Oscar's reply. 

I quitted his Majesty's presence, and returned to 
my hotel, deeply disturbed by what I had heard. 
I could not suppose that the most sagadous sovereign 
in Europe was indulging in idle fears. Yet it was 
hard to believe that the inhabitants of a free, 
self-governing country would voluntarily exchange 
their condition for servitude to the Asiatic despotism 


which had just laid Finland prostrate at their 

Three days afterwards I arrived in Christiania. 
I had made careful preparations for the task before 
me. I assumed the character of a Russian spy, as 
the least likely to provoke suspicion of the quarter 
Crom which I really came. And I had disguised 
my person as effectively as I knew how, lest I 
should meet a real agent of the Tsar's Government, 

who might detect A V beneath the outward 

semblance of Alexander Volkuski. 

The pains I had taken were well rewarded. In 
the hotel in which I put up I found staying a man 
who passed as a Finnish officer, of Swedish nation- 
ality, but whom I inmiediately recognised as Count 
Marloff, the confidential right-hand man of M. de 
Witte himself. It is true the Russian was disguised, 
and the disguise was a very good one, but by an 
almost incredible oversight he had ventured to 
assume that a di^^ise which had already done duty 
once might safely be used again. 

It was seven years before, in Teheran, that I had 
seen that reddish wig and noted that peculiar limp, 
but if Count Marloff had offered me his card I 
could not have been more sure of his identity. 
Such mistakes may be pardonable in a mere detective, 
but they are fatal in our profession. 

My tactics were soon decided on. I knew that 


the attention of ' Colonel Sigersen ' would be quickly 
attracted to a Russian staying in Christiania, and 
I have generally found the boldest game to be the 
most successful 

I seized the first opportunity of the Count's being 
seated alone in the smoking-room of the hotel, to 
go up to him boldly. 

'How do you do, Count?' I said in Russian. 
* Or perhaps you will wish me to say " Colonel " ? ' 

Marloff started, as well he might, and stared hard 
into my feu^e. 

'My name is Colonel Sigersen,' he said forbid- 
dingly. ' Have I had the pleasure of meeting you 
before ? ' 

This was the opening I wanted. I drew back 

' I must apologise,' I said, with irony ; * I have not 
had the honour of meeting you, CdUmd Sigersen, 
Fray do not think I wish to intrude on you.' 

Marloff saw his mistake. In the secret sendee 
of Russia nothing is more common than for two 
different agents to be employed independently of 
each other, and even as spies upon each other. 
When that happens, if the two men are wise, 
they strike up a private alliance, and compare 
notes at their employers' expense. When they 
keep each other at arm's length, each has it in 
his power to cause annoyance to the other. 


Harloff was now in the position of having refused 
my overture towards friendship, without knowing 
who I was. This left me free to watch him, without 
rendering any explanations. He was consequently 
furious with himself. 

The fact is the man was a mere amateur, as one 
who drops into a profession from above generally is. 
De Witte had taken him out of a cavalry regiment, 
and made a diplomatist of him ; but when it came to 
secret service work he was a child in the hands of a 
man like myself. 

I saw the pretended Colonel get up and limp out 
of the room, no doubt to send a cipher despatch to 
the Minister, complaining of my arrival. I went to 
the manager of the hotel, introduced myself as a 
Russian police agent on the track of a great rouble 
forgery, and wormed out of him a mass of particulars 
with r^ard to Sigersen's movements. 

I gathered that he had been in Christiania about a 
month, having toured through Norway first as far 
north as Trondhjem. He had made numerous 
friends in the Norwegian capital, including several 
prominent members of the Storthing, as they call 
their parliament. But his chosen intimate appeared 

to be a judge named , who was regarded as a 

guiding spirit of the party most strongly hostile to 
the Swedish connection. 

It was Judge who had prompted the erection 


of a fortress on the Swedish-Norwegian frontier, 
guarding the approach to Christiania. The same 
warlike functionary had decided on the judicial bench 
that no native of Sweden could exercise the rights 
of a citizen in Norway imtil he had taken out letters 
of naturalisation. In short, this judge had carefully 
taught his countrymen to treat the Swedes as English- 
men were treated by the Boers in the days of the 
Transvaal Republic. 

All this was nothing more than I had been pie- 
pared for by King Oscar. The task now before me 
was to ascertain if possible what was the nature of 

the imderstanding between Judge and the agent 

of the Russian Government. 

I asked the hotel manager — 

' How does Colonel Sigersen pay your bill ? ' 

' By cheque/ was the ready answer. ' By cheque 
on the Bergen and Christiania Bank.' 

' Is it usual for foreign visitors to have a banking 
accoimt open in Christiania ? ' I inquired, keeping up 
the part of a detective. 

The manager admitted it was not Evidently, now 
I had drawn his attention to the point, it struck him 
as suspicious. I left him, feeling that I had secured 
an ally in my watch on Marloff, and made my way to 
the offices of the bank. 

The director of this institution received me with 
every courtesy. Bankers are too often victimised 


for them to regard the police with any feeling but 
gratituda The tale I brought was received with 
open ears. 

' I have reason to think that an account has been 
opened with you for purposes of fraud. If I am 
right, the swindlers have endeavoured to gain your 
confidence at the outset by a large credit. This 
credit has been opened in the name of Colonel 
Sigersen, a pretended Finlander.' 

The manager was visibly alarmed. 

* A gentleman of that name has opened an account 
with us, certainly/ he answered cautiously. ' But he 
brought the very best introduction& In isjct I could 
not have asked for better.' 

' Have you any objection to tell me the character 
of those introductions ? ' 

'I don't mind telling you that one was from 
a well-known citizen, a man in a very responsible 

'In short, Judge 1* 

The manager started. 

' How did you know that ? ' he demanded. 

'I have been on Colonel Sigersen's track for a 
long time,' I answered evasively. 'I venture to 
think that if you make inquiries, you will find 

that his Honour, Judge knows very little about 

him really, and nothing at all about his financial 


* I will communicate with his Honour, and let you 
know the result.' 

' Do so, by all means. In the meanwhile, perhaps, 
you may be willing to tell me how this man's credit 
is supplied ? ' 

The manager hesitated. 

' I hardly know whether I ought to betray his 
a£G9iirs until I have something more to go upon.' 

' Perhaps you will let me ask you if Sigersen has 
yet made a large payment in rouble notes ? ' 

'I can answer that — no.' 

'Then I think you may be safe for the present,' 
I said. ' When he does, I advise you to pass them 
on to your Russian correspondents as quickly as 

This shot told. The manager became very uneasy. 
By degrees I worked on his fears till he invited me 
to examine his ledger. I did so, and found that 
Marloff had brought a heavy credit from a Peters- 
burg bank, and, what was more to my purpose, 
had drawn several heavy cheques to the order of 
Judge . 

' So far you seem to be on the safe side,' I com- 
mented as I finished my inspection. 'But I have 
two pieces of advice to give you. On no account let 
this man overdraw his ascertained credit, and do not 
honour any cheques drawn against rouble notes till 
you hear from me again.' 

i '- 

J. ^ '. 

t- -~' 


The manager thanked xae, and allowed me to 

I had now to consider the best way in which to 
approach the judge, who was not likely to prove 
easily gullible, as it was fairly certain that Marloff 
and he were in each other's confidence. 

But I had underrated the Russian's resources. On 
re-entering my hotel I was accosted by a man in the 
uniform of the Norwegian police, who informed me 
that he held a warrant for my arrest. 

'On what charge?' I demanded, as soon as I 
had recovered from my first surprise. 

' On a charge of conspiracy against the Goyemment 
of Norway,' was the answer. 

*I arrived in Norway only yesterday,' I ex- 

' All that you can tell to the judge,' retorted the 
police officer. 

' Let me see your warrant,' I said. 

The man produced the paper, while the hotel 
manager, who had arrived on the scene, looked on 
astonished, as he well might. 

The warrant bore the signature of Judge . 

' Take me to the judge instantly, if you will be so 
good,' I said. 

' I am going to,' the officer returned. 

He made no attempt to secure me, probably having 
had his instructions. We walked together to the 


judge's house ; he appeared to combine the functions 
of a judge and conunitting magistrate; and I was 
conducted into a room evidently used for the 
examination of prisoners. 

Judge entered immediately, and we exchanged 

scrutinising glances. The leader of the anti-Swedish 
party was a young man, stiU on the right side of 
forty, with a very determined countenance, and a 
look about which there was nothing furtive or em- 
barrassed. It was not an intellectual face. I put the 
man down as a strong-willed, ambitious intriguer, 
with courage, but not very much disinterested 

' What is the meaning of this preposterous arrest f ' 
I demanded, with warmth. 

'This is an a&ir of State; I will examine the 
accused in private,' the judge announced, not answer- 
ing me directly. 

As soon as the room was cleared, he turned to 

' Who are you ? ' was his first question. 

'I am a Russian,' I answered. 

' I know that. What is your business here T * 

I breathed again. I now knew that MarlojBT had 
failed to guess my identity. 

' I have come here on the track of certain foigeis,' 
I began, and went on to tell the story I had given to 
the hotel manager and the banker. 


Judge listened incredulously. 

' I do not believe a word you have said/ he declared. 
* Show me your papers.' 

I produced the passport and credentials from the 
Russian police with which I had been careful to 
provide myself. They were, of course, forged. 

' I will retain these and ascertain if they are genu- 
ine,' the judge observed. 

' Tour Honour means that you will submit them 
to the suspected man,' I returned boldly. 

* How dare you say that ? How dare you call ' — he 
hesitated for a second — ' Colonel Sigersen a suspected 
man ? You know perfectly well who he is.' 

' I know him to be the most skilful forger in Russia,' 
I answered, not quite untruthfully. 

Judge glared at me as if he would like to 

have struck ma 

* What nonsense ! You know his real nama' 

* What difference does that make, your Honour ? ' 

* You know he is a man in high position, in the 
confidence of his Government.' 

' I know he was, till recently. I have no doubt he 
18 capable of pretending he is stilL' 

The judge was plainly disconcerted by the line I 
was taking. He had hoped, no doubt, that I should 
meet him half way. 

' On your arrival here you recognised the Count, 
and greeted him. He rebuffed you, as he had a per- 



feet right to do, and denounced you to me as a spy. 
It is too late for you to turn round and pretend that 
he is a criminal It is you who are on your defence, 
not ha' 

* Your Honour has been imposed upon. But it is 
of no consequence. Tell me what I am charged with, 
and I will defend myself/ 

* You are a spy.' 

' In a sense that is true. I am a detectiva' 

* By whom are you employed ? ' 
' Your Honour has my papers.' 

The judge bit his lip. He clearly did not know 
how to proceed. I, of course, could see that it was 
not his game to bring me to a public trial 

' It seems to me, sir, that it is a mistake for us to 
quarrel,' I said after giving him a minute for reflec- 
tion. ' If I have annoyed Count Marloff by recognis- 
ing him, that is not an offence against the law of 
Norway, I presume. On the other hand, if I am 
right in my conjectures, or rather my instructions, 
the Count himself should be the last man to provoke 
a public inquiry into his business here. Your Hon- 
our knows the law better than I, but I should have 
thought there might be something in the business 
transacted between you and the Count which would 
not look well ' 

He interrupted me. 

' I want to know why you are here. If you are a 


friend, of course there is no need to quarrel. If 
not ' — ^he shrugged his shoulders. 

* I came as a friend/ I replied. ' I came prepared 
to co-operate with you, to assist you, in fia.ct But I 
must first know how you stand with regard to Marloff. 
Is he your personal friend, or are the relations be- 
tween you exclusively political ? ' 

'I have no personal feeling for him,' was the 
guarded answer. 

' Very good. In that case your Honour shall see 
my real credentials. I must tell you frankly that 
Count Marloff has ceased to enjoy the implicit con- 
fidence of his and my Goyemment.' 

I put my hand into an inner pocket, and produced 
a slip of paper in the forged handwriting of the 
Russian Foreign Minister. 

'Does your Honour recognise that writing?' I 
asked, with a confident air. 

Judge was completely deceived. He glanced 

at the few lines, which were in French, with an air 
of the greatest respect Then he looked at me. 

' I must apologise, Prince ' he began, when I 

raised a warning finger. 

' Hush ! Not my real name, please.' 

I took back the paper with an air as if my life 
depended on its preseryation, and restored it to my 

' I am exceedingly sorry to have had to show you 


this/ I said gravely. ' I have, in fact, exceeded my 
instructions, which were simply to watch Coupt 
Marloff and report on the progress he was makii^. 
His own violent action has forced me to go further 
than I wished. I am sorry to say it confirms the 
suspicion entertained in the Foreign Office that he is 
playing a double game. He is a proUgioi M. de 
Witte's, but M. de Witte is not infallible. 

' Now I am afraid I must ask your Honour to take 
me into your confidence. I trust you have not put 
yourself into MarloflTs power ? I know that he has 
paid you considerable sums.' 

Judge looked decidedly nervous. 

' I have given him nothing in writing, I believe,' he 
answered, glancing at the same time at an iron safe 
let into the wall of the room. 

* So far, so good. It is writing that counts in these 
affairs. Have you any objection to my seeing the 
memoranda you have made of your conversations 
with him?' 

The judge stared at me as if I had been a wizard. 

' I don't know what makes you think I have taken 
any memoranda,' he protested. 

'Just as yoti please, sir,' I said drily. 'I should 
have been gratified if you had so far confided in me 
as to let me glance inside that safe. But you are 
right to be cautious.' 

His eyes turned once more in the direction of the 



.^Mi ' ^^^H^^lh^^^l 


^^^m ^ ^^K^^wfv^^ ^^^H 

fint at his rialil Icmjile with my luU Uu 


safe, in spite of himself. I saw a struggle going on 
in his mind. 

' There is no necessity for you to decide hastily/ I 
said in my blandest tones. ' I am as anxious as you 
are that you should have every possible security. If 
you are so far satisfied as to release me from arrest, 
we can sit down and talk over things quietly.' 

This hint had the desired effect. The judge called 
in the policeman, and informed him that his services 
were no longer required. 

As soon as I heard the outer door of the building 
clang to on the departing officer, I drew nearer the 
judge, lowering my voice to a confidential whisper, 
as I said — 

' Now you shall have the truth.' 

He bent forward to listen, and as he did so I 
launched my clenched fist at his right temple with 
my full force, and he dropped senseless without so 
much as a sigh. 

The moment I was satisfied that he was uncon- 
scious I stepped to the door and locked it Then I 
rifled his pocket of his bunch of keys, picked out the 
right one, and opened the safe, all without drawing 

The contents of the safe were chiefly official law 
papers, which I did not waste time over. But in a 
narrow tray at the top I found something that inter- 
ested me more. 


It was nothing less than a draft treaty — a treaty to 
be made between the Norwegian Ministry, acting 
without the knowledge of their King, and the 
Imperial Government of Russia ! 

I did not stay to read the document through. 
After a hasty look to make sure I was leaving nothing 
else of importance behind, I locked the safe, drew off 
its key from the bunch, and dropped the other keys 
on the floor beside the stimned man, slipped quietly 
out of the room and out of the house. 

Instead of returning to my hotel, I made my way 
down to the harbour — I did not dare to risk tiying 
to get a train. In the harbour I hired a small fish^ 
ing-boat with a sail, and put straight out to sea. It 
was on the tossing waters of the Cattegat by moon- 
light that I took in the provisions of the extraordinaiy 
compact between the Norwegian conspirators and 
iheir Imperial ally. 

The docimient had been carnefiilly drawn up, evi- 
dently with an eye to the public opinion of Europe, 
which would naturally be scandalised by an alliance 
between the great Slave despotism and a Teutonic 

The treaty began by reciting that the Union 
between Sweden and Norway had been forced on the 
Norwegians against their will, by the Swedes aided 
by Russia's authority. It went on to state that the 
Union had fiailed to benefit either country, and that 


Russia had consented to undo her past injury to 
Norway by helping her to annul the bond. 

Then followed the particulars of the aid to be 
rendered. Norway pledged herself not to make any 
open move till the signal was given from Petersburg, 
which was to be as soon as Finland had settled down 
into the condition of a Russian province. In the 
meantime the Norwegians were to strengthen them- 
selves in every possible way, and to keep up a steady 
pressure of agitation against Sweden. 

As soon as all was ready, the Norwegian Storthing 
was to meet in secret session and proclaim Norway a 
free and independent Republic, under the protection 
of the Tsar, and mass her troops on the frontier. 
Two Russian Army Corps were to be ready in Fin- 
land, on the pretext of mancBuvres, and these were 
to be hurled across the frontier to the north of the 
Gutf of Bothnia At the same time the Russian 
fleet was to cross the Baltic, occupy the island of 
Gothland, and blockade Stockholm and the Swedish 

All these measures were to be taken merely as 
precaution& If the Swedes accepted the inevitable, 
the Russians were to retire again. If the Swedes 
took up arms, war was to be declared, and Russia 
was to annex Gothland to her Empire, the Nor- 
wegians receiving territory in the north. 

And what was the price which the Tsar was to 


receive for this mighty demonstration ? It 'was not 
a nominal one. The Norwegian Republic bound 
itself to grant to his Imperial Majesty a lease for 
twenty-five years — that is to say, for ever — of a 
warm-water port on the Atlantic Ocean, to be used 
as a depdt and coaling station for the Russian Fleet. 

It was the dream of six generations of Muscovite 
statesmen realised at last. Russisk, with one foot on 
the Atlantic and another on the Pacific, would 
dominate the Old World. 

All that night the fishing-boat carried me along in 
the track of the Baltic steamers. At dawn I boarded 
an English packet going into Gothenburg, and thirty- 
six hours later I stood again in King Oscar's cabinet^ 
and placed the treaty in his hands. 

I watched the brave monarch read it through firom 
beginning to end without one manifestation of dismay 
or even of indignation. 

'My poor subjects!' was his sole remark as he 
raised his eyes at the end. 'They little know the 
fate they are preparing for their children.' 

I asked if his Majesty had any further instructions 
for me. To my surprise he answered, ' Yes.' 

. ' There is only one quarter to which I can look for 
aid,' he said, 'and that is England. Germany is a 
broken reed. Go to England, take this document 
with you, show it to the principal members of the 
Government, telling them how it came into your 

rch read il through from beginning ti 
manifeslalion of dismay," 


hands, and ask them if they wish to see a Russian 
Cherbourg -yirithin twelve hours of the Scottish 
coast If they remain indiiOferent, I can do nothing 

'The English Press ? ' I suggested doubtfully. 

' The Norwegians have captured it, I fear/ objected 
his Majesty. 'Norway is the playground of the 
British tourist; and, besides, the English consider 
themselves half Norwegian by race. No, popular 
sentiment in Great Britain is on the side of Norway.' 

' Nevertheless, sire, if thoughtful Englishmen could 
be made to realise that, for the sake of pique — for a 
mere whim — the Norwegians were about to place 
the keys of the Atlantic in the hands of Britain's 
most formidable foe, they might make their influence 

* Do what you think best, M. V. ,' the King said 

wearily. ' I am getting an old man, and I wish for 

I have ventured to take his Majesty at his word. 



Some two or three years back — that is, shortly 
before the great Boxer rising in China — the careless 
Parisians were amused to hear of the existence in 
their midst of an association styling itself the Ckmr 
pany of the Joyous Peach Blossom^ 

This body professed to be a literary guild or 
brotherhood formed for the purpose of studying the 
Chinese poets, and transplanting some of the poetical 
flowers of the East into the garden of Western 
literature. All this sounded a trifle fantastic, and 
Paris, accustomed to the caprices of its youthful 
literary coteries, shrugged its shoulders and asked 
with a smile whether the guild possessed more than 
two members in all, or whether it were not a 
pure myth, and the CoTnpany of the Joyous Pedch 
Blossom a device of some budding poet, anxious to 
seek notoriety. 

The announcement of the guild's existence struck 
me in a different light. Having made a profound 
study for many years of secret societies, past and 



present, I had grasped the fact that China is the 
one land in which such societies are truly formid- 
able, all the most famous secret societies of Europe 
bemg mere trifles compared with the terrible con- 
spiracies which honeycomb the Heavenly Kingdom. 

I had learned, moreover, that the most powerful 
and reckless of these Chinese societies assumed the 
most innocent and poetical names, as, for example, 
the dreaded brotherhood of the WaterlUyt which 
deluged Southern China in blood forty years 

Therefore, while the French police, usually so 
shrewd in dealing with secret political organisations, 
did not deem the Company of the Joyous Peach 
Bloaaom worth a moment's consideration^ I ^t to 
work to find out all I could about it 

I was not long in discovering that the guild was 
more than the eccentric imagination of a Quartier 
Latin poet To begin with, I found that similar 
societies, bearing names of an equally fantastic 
nature^ had simultaneously come into existence in 
London, Berlin, New York, and Chicago, and that 
all these bodies were in correspondence with one 

I found, farther, tliat the members of the Parisian 
society were in commimication with a retired French 
diplomatist of singular character, a man who had 
returned from a ten years' sojourn in Pekin, steeped 


to the lips in Chinese ideas, and a professed follower 
of E^hung the Master, or Confucius, as he is called in 
the West. 

I ascertained that the guild had its headquarters 
in the studio of a rising artist of the Mystic school, 
that it held meetings from time to time, of which 
minutes were kept, and in the record of its proceed- 
ings there appeared references to certain Chinese 
spirits of the underworld, and entries which, in 
veiled language, hinted at rites having been prac- 
tised of a nature which could only be described as 

I had no very definite object in acquiring this 
information, but I was led on by a vague idea that 
it might be useful to' me at some future time. 
During the storm of indignation aroused in Europe 
by the Boxer massacres, nothing more was heard 
of the Company of the Joyous Peach Bloeeom, which 
seemed to have sunk out of existenca I had ceased 
to think about it, when one day, shortly after the 
conclusion of the peace negotiations, my secretary 
came in to ask me if I would receive a gentleman 
whose card he handed to me. 

I took the card, and read on it the name of 
M. Caramel-Bignaud. M. Bignaud was a young poet 
of distinction, whose verses, stamped with a delicate 
aloofness of their own, had attracted the attention 
of connoisseurs in the columns of CHI Blaa. To me 


he possessed an interest of a different kind, for I had 
last read his name as president at the meetings of 
the dmipcmy of the Joyous Peach Blossom, 

' I will see this gentleman/ I told my assistant. 

Partly surprised, partly gratified, by this proof that 
I had rightly gauged the importance of the guild, I 
waited with keen curiosity to hear what M. Bignaud 
had come to say to me.. 

The poet entered and took the chair I pointed 
out to him without a word. Then, leaning back 
negligently and fixing his dark, sleepy eyes on mine, 
he began — 

'I have come to ask you, M. V ^ if you are 

willing to undertake a long journey — a very long 
journey — without receiving any information as to 
the business which awaits you at the end.' 

' But that is easily answered,' I ^said. ' Provided I 
am sufficiently well paid for my time and trouble, 
it makes no difference to me where I go, or whether 
there is anything for me to do when I get there. 
It must be always understood that I am at liberty 
to refuse this business, if I choose, without assign- 
ing any reason, and that my refusal will make no 
difference to my charge for the journey itself.' 

*Your conditions are perfectly satisfactory,' M. 
Bignaud declared. 'Whatever sum you require 
shall be paid to you in advance. How soon will 
you be able to start?' 


I reflected for an instant. 

' If you wanted me to go to any place in Europe 
or America I should have said immediately. As 
you are going to send me to China I must have six 
hours to get ready.' 

The poet's sleepy gaze changed into one of astonish- 

'But have I said anything about China?' he 
demanded, evidently in some dismay. 

'You have said nothing. I am accustomed to 
draw inferences in my work, and there is no time 
to lose if I am to start as soon as I have said.' 

' The afifair is not so pressing/ the poet remarked 
with a smile. 'The hurry and flurry of the West 
are not known in that delightful country. It will 
be quite soon enough if you start to-morrow, or the 
day after.' 

'So much the better. Am I to go to Pekin or 

' To Sing-fu/ M. Bignaud's tone betrayed a mild 
surprise at my guess. ' It is unnecessary, I suppose, 
to observe that the mission is confidential ? ' 

That is the sort of remark which always irritates 

' I am a confidential agent,' I retorted curtly. ' To 
whom am I to report myself?' 

M. Bignaud leant forward impressively. 

' To the Dowager Empress I ' 


I received this announcement without manifesting 
any emotion. 

' Am I to take any credentials ? ' 

The president of the Coirvpany of the Joyous Peach 
Bloaaom unbuttoned his coat« and drew from the 
breast-pocket a small parcel wrapped in yellow silk 
Unwinding the silk, fold by fold, with reverent care, 
he displayed to view a square tablet of translucent 
stone, of a colour like that of an olive tree seen at 
a distance with the light upon it It was a piece 
of jade, a stone whose beauty is npt yet appreciated 
in Europe, but which the Chinese estimate fietr above 
onyx or mother-o'-pearl or chalcedony. 

Taking the tablet from his hand, I perceived that 
it was engraved with the figure of a dragon, whose 
extended claws each showed five talons. 

' This is an Imperial talisman,* I observed. 

'It is a passport,' the other responded. 'The 
sight of that tablet will gain you admittance to the 
presence of her Imperial Majesty.' He sighed as 
he added : ' You are to be envied, monsieur.' 

'That remains to be seen.' I proceeded to fix the 
amount of my remuneration and expenses, which 
M. Bignaud paid without demur. 

As he was rising to go he could not resist asking — 

'Have you any objection to tell me what it was 
that led you to guess that your journey would be 
to China?' 


' It was more than a guess, monsieur, since I knew 
I had the honour to receive the chief of the Company 
of the Joyotis Peach Blossom,' 

I almost regretted my openness when I saw the 
effect which this confession produced on the poet 
He turned pale, stammered once or twice as though 
unable to speak, and finally turned his back with- 
out a word, and rushed from the room« 

It would be tedious to recount the particulars of 
my journey across a hemisphere to interview the 
extraordinary woman who had revived in our own 
day the fabled majesty of Semiramis. 

I reflected that it was not a little singular that, 
in an age when the women of the Western world 
were clamouring for opportunities to play a greater 
part in life, this almond-eyed daughter of the 
Manchud had cast ridicule upon their agitation by 
proving that it was possible for a woman, bom in 
the most conservative society of the globe, to achieve 
the supreme direction of five hundred millions of 
human beings, and to make sport of the statesmen 
of Europe and America. 

To reach Pekin was an easy matter, but my 
difficulties began when I embarked on the dangerous 
enterprise of travelling into the interior of the 
empire, through provinces seething with hatred of 
the foreign devil. In spite of the magic influence 
of my sacred tablet, I found it prudent to disguise 

" finally he turned hh back u'ilhout i word, and lushcd (roni the 


my Western extraction under the official robes of 
a mandarin of the fourth class. Thus attired I 
travelled in security and comfort, everywhere re- 
ceived with the honours due to a high official 
honoured with a summons to the Court of Heaven. 

As I approached Sing-fu I left the disturbed area 
behind me. The inhabitants of this inland region 
did not appear to have heard of the troubles in 
Pekin or the arrival of the German Michael with 
his mailed fist to exact redress for the murder of 
his Ambassador. They understood merely that the 
Son of Heaven had come among them for repose 
after the labour of chastising certain barbarian pirates 
who had been infesting the sea-coast 

It was given out by my attendants that I had 
come to report the successful execution of his 
Majesty's sentence on the ruffians; and if I had 
really left the heads of the Grerman Emperor, the 
Tsar of Russia, and President Roosevelt grinning 
on spikes over the gates of Pekin, my reception 
could not have been more cordial. 

I found the Chinese court encamped in a sort of 
military fashion, in charming scenery, at the foot 
of a ridge of low hills, amid groves of fruit trees 
watered by a delightful stream. The tents of ten 
thousand guards a^d attendants clustered round the 
stately pavilions of the great mandarins, adorned 
with flags emblematic of their rank; and in the 



centre the great Imperial Dragon Standard floated 
over a fEury-like palace whose lacquered wood and 
silken curtains concealed the sacred person of the 
Mother of the Sun and Moon. 

The disgraced Emperor, whose fate was still a 
mystery to his subjects, was closely imprisoned in 
one wing of the Imperial quarters. 

It was now that I realised the full significance 
of the jade tablet sent to me by the hands of the 
student of Chinese literature. The nearer I pene- 
trated to my august client, the more awe this 
symbol seemed to excite, till the attendants who 
guarded the antechamber actually fell on their 
knees at the sight of it, and refused to rise till I 
had replaced it in its silken veils. 

Impressed, in spite of myself, by this ceremonial 
homage to a mere token, I felt a real sentiment of 
awe as I stood at last in the presence of the being 
whom countless millions of men worship as divina 

Slight, dark-haired, and ivory-pale, the Emperor- 
maker received me seated in a simple chair of 
bamboo. I was not required to perform the hcAXh 
tow, my audience being a strictly private one. I 
learned afterwards, moreover, that a hurried decree 
of the Board of Rites had raised my grandfather to 
the rank of a marquis, in order to qualify me for a 
personal interview with her Majesty. 

The conversation was carried on in French, through 


an interpreter, himself of such high rank that he 
could not have spoken to me directly but for the 
recent ennobling of my ancestry. 

'Her Imperial Majesty has deigned to express a 
hope that you are not fatigued by your journey.' 

' It is impossible to be conscious of fatigue in her 
Majesty's presence/ 1 returned with a deep bow. 

By the slight smile that parted the thin, terrible 
lips of the Empress, I acquired the certainty that 
her Majesty perfectly understood everything that 
was being said. 

No doubt the interpreter was equally aware of 
this circumstance, for he assumed an expression of 
courtly dismay. 

' I dare not let the Mother of the Emperor know 
that you have presumed to offer her a compliment/ 
he said rebukingly. 'I will tell her Majesty that 
you await her Imperial commands. 

After a short interchange in Chinese, he turned to 
me again. 

'I am commanded to tell you that one of the 
barbarian chiefs who have made a disturbance in 
the capital of the Empire has made a demand, as 
the price of his departure, which is too insolent to 
be treated as anything but a display of the ignorant 
vanity of a savage. The chief I speak of exercises 
some authority among those of the Western devils 
who call themselves Dutch or Teutons/ 


' You mean the Grerman Emperor ? ' I said incau- 

The interpreter put on a look of horror, as at some 
unheard-of blasphemy. 

'Hush, I implore you. You forget the Sacred 
Presence. There is only one Emperor — he whom 
her Majesty permits to execute her will over the 
black-haired people. The vain assumption of Im- 
perial titles by these foreign bandits is deeply 
offensive to the Court of Heaven. You understand ? 
All such upstarts exist merely by the tolerance of 
her Majesty. We will speak of this person as the 
Viceroy of the German Province/ 

I could scarcely resist a smile as I bowed apolo- 
getically. I imagined myself repeating this conver- 
sation to Wilhelm II., a ruler not inclined to take 
too low an estimate of his own consequenca 

' This rebellious Viceroy/ the Chinese courtier pro- 
ceeded, ' has had the unheard-of arrogance to require 
that a Prince of the Manchu dynasty shall travel to 
his unknown province to express regret for the death 
of its envoy at the Imperial Court' 

This announcement did not come to me as newa 
In passing through Pekin I had learned that one of 
the conditions of peace was that a Chinese Prince 
should go to Berlin to tender the Imperial apologies 
to the Kaiser for the murder of the Qerman Am- 
bassador during the Boxer rising. 


The interpreter went on — 

' You may be able to understand faintly how such 
a proposal must strike the Imperial ears, by imagin- 
ing the case of a negro king in the heart of Africa 
requiring Queen Victoria to send one of her sons to 
prostrate himself in his kraal, because some accident 
had happened to one of his slaves in London.' 

I listened in silence to this illustration, which 
showed me that the Dowager Empress was pretty 
well acquainted with the political distinctions pre- 
vailing among those whom she professed to regard 
as savages beneath her notica 

' It is, of course, impossible,' the courtly interpreter 
went on, ' for the Brother of the Sun and Moon to 
submit to this degradation, even if it were safe to 
expose one of the Imperial House to the dangerous 
magical arts of the West. It is rumoured that you 
have diabolical contrivances called kodaks; now it 
is evident that if one of the Race of Heaven were 
kodaked, the Sun himself might avenge such an 
insult by refusing to shine upon the earth/ 

He said all this with a perfectly serious air. But 
from the expression on the face of the Empress I 
fancied her Majesty was a little wearied of this 
fulsome strain. 

I ventured to bring him to the point. 

^Will you tell me what her Imperial Majesty 
desires me to do ? ' 


' Her Majesty graciously condescends to confide in 
you. Her slaves who reside among the Western 
viceroys have assured her that you respect the pre- 
cept of the great Khung — ^"The counsellor who 
betrays his lord's secret and the child who bites 
his mother, these are too base to be pardoned." * 
' Gk> on/ I said, becoming slightly impatient 
at being impossible to do what the German 
Viceroy asks, and her Majesty being benevolently 
anxious to spare him the humiliation of a refusal, 
there has been sought out a man of the people, a 
barber in the Tartar city of Pekin, whose features 
Heaven has permitted to bear a certain resem- 
blance to those of his Imperial Highness, Prince 

'This respectable person, whose intelligence is 
remarkable for his station in life, has been provided 
with a dress sufGciently like that worn by the Im- 
perial Family to deceive the barbarians. He has 
further received some lessons in etiquette and 
deportment during the last few weeks. He will 
now proceed to the regions of the West, and gratify 
the absurd pride of the Viceroy in the manner agreed 
'He will pass himself off as the Prince?' 
' It is necessary that he should do so, in order to 
soothe the Viceroy. It is better that the Prince's 
name should incur this obloquy, than that the 


barbarian soldiery should continue their ravages in 
the Heavenly Kingdom.' 

The scheme sounded daring, and yet it seemed to 
have a very good chance of success. To a European 
eye one Chinaman is very like another. And there 
were not likely to be many people in Berlin capable 
of distinguishing between the manners of a prince 
and a barber, apart from their surroundings. 

'I don't see why the plan shouldn't succeed/ I 
said aloud. 'Its very boldness ought to carry it 

I observed a distinct look of satisfaction on the 
face of the formidable Empress as I made this com- 
ment The interpreter hastened to respond — 

'Your words are those of a prudent man. Her 
Imperial Majesty offers you the honour of accom- 
panying the Prince's substitute, nominally as his 
courier, but really as his protector. You will be on 
the watch against any chance of detection, and will 
warn him against imprudent conduct' 

'I accept her Majest/s commission/ was my 

Before the courtier could go through the form of 
interpreting the words, the Empress said something 
to him in Chinese, which caused him to start like a 
man who can hardly believe what he has heard. 

Her Majesty made an impatient gesture at this 
piece of pantomime. Instantly he turned towards me. 


' Will your Excellency pennit me to oflFer you my 
most respectful congratulations? The Queen of 
Heaven has ordered you a cup of tea ! ' 

I realised that I was as much exalted as if a mere 
barbarian empress had bestowed on me an embrace. 
The tea was brought; a whisper from my adviser 
warned me that I must merely touch the cup with 
my finger and retire. 

The interpreter, whose name I learned was Wu 
Tang, accompanied me from the presence to make 
the necessary preparations. Once away from the 
dreaded eye of his Imperial mistress, he proved 
to be a very agreeable, well-informed man, and I 
regretted that he was not coming on the mission 
to Europe. 

He introduced me to the pretended Prince, who 
had already got quite used to his part, and received 
me with all the airs of a Cousin of the Sun and 
Moon, and Brother-in-Law of the whole Milky 

Of our journey westward it is needless for me to 
write, since our progress was fully reported in the 
barbarian press. The barber was kodaked more than 
once, the apprehensions of the Chinese Court on this 
head being fully justified. 

The principal incident which marked the progress 
of the Embassy must also be fresh in the public 
mind — ^namely, the demand of the Grerman Court 


that the Prince should perform the kowtow, and 
his refusal 

It was at this stage that I first felt myself to be 
doing something to earn the lavish rewards of the 
Dowager Empress. Left to himself, I believe the 
barber would have given way, and performed the 
degrading obeisance, thereby lowering the honour 
of the Imperial House beyond redemption. The 
wretched man was thoroughly frightened at finding 
himself so far from home ; and, in his ignorance of 
Western manners, he really thought that the Kaiser 
might have him imprisoned and beheaded if he 
provoked his Majesty. 

Fortunately we were on Swiss territory at the 
time, and by means of my secret agency I was 
able to procure a written despatch from the Chinese 
Ambassador at another Court, in the name of the 
Empress, positively forbidding Prince Chung's sub- 
stitute to comply with the offensive demand. 

The circumstances of our public audience in the 
Palace of Berlin were sufficient to daimt any im- 
postor. I confess to some slight nervousness on my 
own part, though I was, of course, disguised beyond 
the possibility of recognition, as I stood before the 
monarch who had so often trusted me in his most 
confidential affairs, and listened to the faltering 
speech of the false Prince. 

The Elaiaer was attired in his most magnificent 


costume, wearing the famous winged helmet on bis 
head, and surrounded by a galaxy of ministers and 
great officers, all arrayed in the utmost military 
splendour. It was a sight calculated to strike terror 
into an Oriental mind, and I admired the theatrical 
completeness of the spectacle, almost regretting that 
it should be wasted on an obscure underling. Had 
the real Prince been there he might have learned a 
valuable lesson, and given some good advice to the 
Empress of China on his return. 

On the evening after the ceremony the Prince's 
substitute was compelled to attend a banquet, 
given in order to mark the termination of strife, 
and the restoration of good feeling between the two 

At this banquet I was unable to be present, my 
position being too low for me to receive an in- 
vitation, and too high for me to appear as an 
attendant on the Prince. What incident it was 
that occurred to rouse the Kaiser's suspicion, I 
have never been able to learn — the luckless barber 
himself could not tell me. But late that night 
a wire reached me firom my office in Paris, to this 
effect — 

' Urgent wire received from Oerman Emperor 
reqwvring you immediatdy in Berlin What 

With the reception of that telegram a light 


bunt upon my mind. A doubt which I had tried 
in vain to stifle had vexed me all along as to the 
sufficiency of the Empress's motive for retaining my 
services, at a high cost, to do practically nothing. 

Now at last it seemed to me that I understood. 
This extraordinary woman had doubtless consulted 
her representatives in Europe as to the dangers of 
detection, and they had informed her that I was 
Wilhelm II/s favourite confidential agent, who would 
almost certainly be called in if any suspicion arosa 
Thereupon she had adopted the artful device of 
retaining me on her own side in advance, placing 
me in the extremely delicate position of being 
bound by loyalty to her to hoodwink my other 

What was I to do? A bare refusal or neglect to 
answer the Eaiser^s summons would leave him free 
to employ another agent, whom I might find it hard 
to outwit. On the other hand, I should violate my 
lifelong rule, if I accepted a commission which I 
could not loyally discharge. 

After much painful thought, I decided on what 
seemed to me the only wise and honourable course. 
Disguised as I was, I went straight round to the 
palace, and asked to see the Kaiser. 

'Impossible!' declared the private secretary on 
duty, to whom I was first shown in. ' His Majesty 
is retiring. Who are you ? ' 


' Gro and tell the Emperor that the man i^hom he 
has just telegraphed to Paris for is here.' 

The secretary gave me an astonished look, as he 
well might, and left the room. 

In a minute he was back with instructions to 
conduct me to the Kaiser's presence. 

I found his Majesty in his dressing-room alona 

* Monsieur V 1 Is this really you?* he ex- 

' My voice may be more familiar to you than my 
face, sire,' I responded. 

'I am delighted. Sit down. I have a most 
extraordinary thing to consult you about. This ' 

I ventured to hold up my hand. For the first 
time in my life I presumed to interrupt royalty. 

'A thousand pardons, sire I I beg of you to let 
me speak first.' 

'Why, what does this mean, sir/ Wilhelm IL 
inquired sternly. 

' It means, sire, that I am compelled to presume on 
the many faithful services I have rendered to your 
Majesty to ask you for a favour which alone can ex- 
tricate me from a position of cruel embarrassment' 

* Proceed, sir.' 

The Kaiser's tone was still reserved, but I fancied 
I observed a slight softening in the glance. 

' I already know the business in which you desire 
my aid.* 


*You know it!' cried the Emperor, fairly con- 

'It is my business to know things, and I know 
this. Now, let me put it to your Majesty, what 
can you possibly gain by following up an inquiry 
which can have no tangible result? I say no 
tangible result, because there is simply no means by 
which you can arrive at the proof of what you suspect. 
And, if it were otherwise, how could your Majesty 
possibly turn the information to account ? 

' You could not entertain the idea of confessing to 
the world that you had been duped. Consider, sire, 
what use the wits of the bouleyards would make of 
such a revelation! Imagine the pencil of Caran 
d'Ache at work on the episode 1 ' 

I saw Wilhelm II. fidget imeasily, and I knew that 
my cause was gained. 

' On the other hand,' I resumed, ' suppose that you 
have harboured a suspicion which is unjust. You 
run the risk of affironting a submissive enemy — of 
insulting the fallen. And it would be too late to 
repair the injury to your own prestige; the Paris 
mockers would never abandon so good a joke.' 

The Kaiser frowned and tugged at his moustache. 
It was evident that he only sought an excuse to yield. 

' Consider, sire, that what is merely a question of 
politics with you is one of religion with the poor 
woman you have humiliated to-day. Your end is 


gained; the Imperial House of China has humbled 
itself in the dust before the HohenzoUems. If a 
religious scruple has caused this public act to be 
done by proxy, that is a secret known only to a few 
persons who, for their own sakes, will never dare to 
reveal it/ 

By this time the Kaiser was as anxious to pass the 
matter over as he had been just before to investigate 

* If I consent to take your advice, and dismiss the 
suspicion I have formed, will you in turn tell me two 
things ? ' 

* I have no doubt I shall, sire.' 

' Then, why are you in Berlin, and how is it you 
know so much ? ' 

' I am here, sire, in the train of his Imperial High- 
ness, as the confidential agent of the Dowager Empress 
of China.' 

The Kaiser gl^ed at me, biting his lip to repien 
the amused smile that struggled forth neverthelesa 

' M. Y ^ you are a wonderful man I I am not 

sure whether I ought to arrest you or to pardon you 
freely; however, I will cry quits if you will tell me 
who this fellow really is ? ' 

' He is, of course, sire, the brother of his Imperial 
Maj ' 

Wilhelm II. strode to me, seized me by the shoul- 
ders, and thrust me out of the room. 



I AM now going to relate the story of what ia, 
perhaps, the most extraordinary mission on which I 
have ever been employed. It will, I think, come as 
a surprise to many of the best-informed politicians 
on the Continent, including the highly placed person- 
ages whose schemes I was the means of detecting 
and defeating. 

It was during the war between the British and 
Boers in South Africa, at a period which I do not 
care to specify more particularly, that I had the 
honour to receive a request to proceed without loss 
of time to Petersburg, and wait upon M. Witte. It 
is chiefly this Minister's unjust dismissal that has 
provoked me to make this disdosura 

I was particularly gratified at being sent for by the 
great Russian Minister, because his action was a 
demonstration of the high confidence reposed in my 
loyalty. Although I was known to be a Pole by 
descent, and the favourite and confidant of the 


German Emperor, who had constantly employed me 
to combat Russian intrigues, yet M. Witte felt no 
fear in intrusting me with the secrets of Russian 

The moment I arrived in Petersburg, I went with- 
out waiting to change or refresh myself to wait on 
my client Our interview took place, not at the 
Ministry of Finance, where M. Witte would have been 
surrounded by spies, but at a small private house in 
a suburb of the Russian capital. 

The Finance Minister received me in a small study, 
the walls of which were lined with works on political 
economy and kindred subjects. 

' I have asked you to meet me here,' die Minister 
explained, as soon as I had seated myself, and lighted 
the cigar which he pressed upon me, ' because I don't 
wish the fa;ct that we are in commimication to be 
known to a single person in the Russian Empiia In 
particular, it must be kept a strict secret from the 
Minister of War. It is against him that you will 
be acting really, and I shall have to ask you to 
pledge yourself that in case of your proceedings 
attracting his attention, you will lead him to suppose 
that you have been commissioned by some foreign 

' That will be easy,' I replied. ' Russia has plenty 
of watchful enemies. Shall I say Great Britain ? ' 

M. Witte shook his head thoughtfully. 

' Will you [Krinii me lo ask you,' 


* You would not be believed. No one will credit 
the British Groyemment with intelligence enough to 
acquire knowledge of its enemies' intentions. But 
that is a point which I can safely leave to your dis- 
cretion if the occasion should arise.' 

I contented myself with bowing, and waited for the 
Minister to proceed. 

* Will you permit me to ask you/ he said politely, 
' if you have ever done any business on behalf of the 
Emperor of Austria-Hungary ? ' 

'I have been engaged by his Majesty on two 
occasions/ I responded. ' It was I who succeeded in 
suppressii^ the facts concerning the death of the 
Crown Prince Rudolf, and in establishing the currency 
of the version which has now been accepted as seri- 
ous history. The truth/ I added, 'will never be 
known to any one outside the innermost circle of the 
Habsburg family ; and I dare not tell it even to your 
Excellency. The other occasion I am not at liberty 
to mention.' 

'Perhaps I can guess it, though/ the Russian 
Minister returned with a shrewd smile. 'However, 
the important thing is that you are already person- 
ally known to the Emperor. It follows from that 
fact that he has learned to respect and trust you.' 

I thanked M. Witte for this compliment by a 
low bow. At the same time I was a little on my 



' You know so much of what goes on in Europe, 

M. y / he resumed, ' that perhaps it will be no 

news to you that Francis-Joseph has decided to 
abdicate the Dual Crown/ 

This announcement, in fact, came as a complete 
surprise to me. Fortunately I had time to prepare 
to receive it calmly. 

'I will not pretend that it is news,* was my re- 
sponsa 'But I am always glad to have my own 
information confirmed. I shall be grateful for any- 
thing you may tell me on the subject.' 

' I am not going to keep anything from you,' said 
the Minister. 'The Emperor has made a private 
announcement of his intention to my own master, 
the Tsar, asking for his good offices on behalf of 
his proposed successor.' 

' The Archduke Ferdinand ? ' I put in rashly. 

M. Witte drew himself up, and gave me a sus- 
picious glance. 

'You are too subtle, M. V ,' he said coldly. 

' I have no doubt that you know perfectly well that 
it is the young Archduke Earl whom the Emperor 
has chosen to succeed him.' 

I thought it better to be suspected of subtlety 
than nescience, and apologised. 

'I ought not to have spoken. I beg your 
Excellency to continue.' 

'What I am going to ask you to do may sound 


rather extraordinary. I want you to go to Vienna, 
see his Majesty, of course without letting him know 
that you have been in communication with me, and 
tell him that you suspect the Russian Government 
is playing him false. Then persuade him to employ 
you to find out what is in the wind' 

I stared at M. Witte in some bewilderment. Then 
I answered cautiously — 

' Do I understand you, sir, to propose that I am 
really to enter the service of the Emperor ? Or am 
I to be your agent in the business ? ' 

' I want you to do both/ was the answer. 

'I am to deceive the Emperor, it appears?' I 
said with rising indignation. 

' Not in the least. You will accept his commission 
to ascertain the secret intentions and purposes of 
the Government of Russia, and you will execute 
that commission exactly as if you and I had never 
held this conversation.' 

'M. Witte, I must beg you to be plain with 
me. I never consent to act in the dark. What 
is your true motive in making this strange proposal 


'I think I have already told you,' the Minister 
returned with perfect coolness. 'The man whom 
I am combatii^ is Count Lamsdorffi' 

• Your colleague ? ' 

' Exactly. My colleague, the War Minister.* 


* Let me see if I clearly understand your Excellency. 
The Emperor of Austria has given the Tsar private 
notice of his intention to abdicate ? The Tsar has 
promised to preserve a friendly attitude? Never- 
theless, the war party in the ministry, with or 
without the Tsar's connivance, are secretly preparing 
to take advantage of the situation in some way? 
Your Excellency, knowing this, and disapproving 
of their plans, desires to put the Austrian Emperor 
on his guard, in order that the scheme may mis- 
carry ?' 

M. Witte punctuated this speech with a series 
of nods. 

' And why ? ' I demanded bluntly, throwing myself 
back in my chair. 

The Russian statesman looked at me for a minute, 
as though trying to make up his mind whether 
it would be of any use to offer me a false ex- 
cuse. I prepared to listen to something about 
the obligations of international honour and good 

'Suppose I were to tell you that I am acting 
under the confidential instructions of my own 
Emperor, who lacks the courage to put his veto on 
the policy of the Grand Dukes ? ' 

'In that case your object can be attained much 
more simply. Procure me a line in the handwriting 
of Nicholas IL to Francis-Joseph, and I undertake 


to deliver it, and to bum it afterwards with my 
own hand.' 

The Russian heaved a sigh of amused resigna- 

' You are too deep for me, M. V . Very well, 

then, I will tell you/ He bent forward and lowered 
his voica 'Russia is not ready to strike. A war 
now would mean the bankruptcy of the Empire. 
The others will not believe this, but I know it. I 
will not have my carefully laid plans shattered by 
them, for the sake of a miserable province like 

'I am a statesman, not a pettifogger. With my 
railways I am reachii^ forward to clutch the great 
Empires of Asia. China is already within my grasp ; 
India is being drawn closer year by year. When a 
thousand millions of men obey the sceptre of the 
Tsar, these petty European States will £bJ1 like ripe 
plums into our lap.' 

The Russian spoke with real emotion. If I still 
retained any fednt misgiving, it was not enough 
to restrain me from accepting the service required 
of me. 

Within three days I found myself in the palace 
of Schonbrunn. 

Of all my clients Francis- Joseph is the most un- 
approachabla Modem ideas of democratic equality 
find little encouragement in the Austrian Court 


After the friendly bonhomie of the Grerman Kaiser, 
and the tactful kindness of the King of England, 
the Austrian sovereign's manner affects one dis- 
agreeably: it is like touching a lump of ice. Yet, 
according to his lights, the Emperor is gracious and 
even cordial, especially to those who approach him 
in his private hours. 

I found him in his favourite room overlooking 
the Park. His Majesty did not invite me to be 
seated in his presence, an omission which indicated 
no unfriendliness. 

'I am pleased to receive you, monsieur,' he said 
in a clear, stately voice. 'The services you have 
rendered me entitle you to ask for an audience, and 
I have no doubt your reason for seeking it is a 
proper one. Be good enough to state it' 

'I have taken the liberty of asking for this 
audience in order that I might offer your Majesty 
certain information about your forthcoming abdica- 

The Emperor could not repress a slight start 
Lifting his eyebrows, he gazed at me steadily in 
the face. 

' I have communicated my desire to abdicate,' he 
said with a significant intonation, 'to six persons 
only. Two of them are brother sovereigns ; two are 
members of my own family ; the other two are the 
Chancellor of the Empire and the Prime Minister of 

; . '-'.- ^^ 



■1 1 

)■ .^ ■' 

; f'v ;"\ 1 

- ''> ■> 

; {- N ,~ > * '^ ^ 

. . . ■ I - ■ ' - 


Hungary. Through which of them did you receive 
your information ? ' 

'Not one of the persons in your Majesty's con- 
fidence has the slightest idea that I have heard 
anything whatever on the subject. I must respect- 
fiiUy beg your Majesty not to press me further.' 

The aged Emperor was evidently much disturbed. 

'If what you say is true — and I do not doubt 
your word — the information must have reached you 
through an intermediary. That is to say, my purpose 
is known to at least eight persons, in short, to the 
whole world.' 

I held my tongue. It is the 1||[| by which I have 
learned most of my secrets. "^^ 

After a few minutes' silent consideration, during 
which the frown on his face steadily deepened, his 
Majesty looked at me again. 

' What do you wish to tell me ? ' 

' I wish to put your Majesty on your guard.' 

' You have done that already, most effectually,' he 

' I have come to beg you to distrust the assurances 
you have received, no matter from what quarter, that 
your Majesty's abdication will pass off quietly. And 
if I should be so fortunate as to possess your con- 
fidence, I would further request your Majesty to 
employ me on the service of ascertaining what the 
intentions of your neighbours really are/ 


The Emperor perceived that I was keeping some- 
thing back. 

' In what directions do your suspicions point ? ' he 
inquired sternly. 

'Chiefly to Russia/ I answered with intentional 

* You are mistaken, I believe. You cannot know 
the nature of the assurances I have received. Besides, 
I am well acquainted with the position of Russia. M. 
Witte is the man who counts in the Russian Govern- 
ment, and he is all for peace. He needs time to 
develop his plans. The country is nearly insolvent 
However much the war party may desire to make a 
snatch at Galicia, they will not be allowed to do so.' 

' Will your Majesty pardon me if I venture to make 
a proposition? I will undertake to ascertain the 
actual state of things at my^^q^ risk. If I am able 
to report that my suspicions are unfounded, your 
Majesty shall make me no acknowledgment what- 

Francis-Joseph threw me a displeased look. 

' I regret that you should have permitted yourself to 
speak to me in that way, monsieur. Be good enough 
to remember who I am. I do not employ servants 
without paying them. Your former services give 
you a claim to consideration; your position and 
character entitle you to be treated seriously; and 
I am not going to reject your present request. You 


may consider yourself retained to make this investi- 
gation. Have you anything else to say ? ' 

This acceptance of my offer, glacial though it 
was, consoled me for the rebuke by which it was 
accompanied ' Nevertheless, as I left the Emperor's 
presence, I regretted that he had not been more 
frank with me. It was no doubt my own reticence 
which provoked this corresponding reserve on his 
Majesty's part But the result might have been 

It will be noticed particularly that although the 
Emperor had practically admitted that it was his 
intention to vacate the throne, he had refrained from 
giving me the smallest hint as to the date of the 

I took my way towards the Galician frontier in 
the character of a British tourist, armed with a sheaf 
of the coupons of Messrs. Cook. I was aware that 
this disguise would serve better than any other as 
a cloak for prying and impertinent questioning. 

Galicia, I need hardly say, is that part of Poland 
which fell to the share of Austria in the famous 
partition of the eighteenth century. Bitterly as the 
Poles hate the Russians, the two peoples are allied in 
language and blood, and Russia has always looked 
forward to incorporating the whole of the ancient 
realm of the Jagellons in her own dominions in 
course of time. The break-up of the Dual Monarchy 


would naturally be the signal for Russia to execute 
her designs on the Polish province of the Habsburgs. 

In Galicia itself I found everything in a state of 
the most profound peace and security. There was 
the usual frontier garrison, but the camps showed no 
signs of special activity. I toured along the frontier 
almost from end to end, in a motor which I had 
ordered from Paris, and I came upon great stretches 
of country, several miles in extent, where a whole 
Russian army corps could have crossed the line 
without being observed, far less opposed. 

At the end of this inspection, which lasted about a 
week, I crossed over to the Russian side. 

I found myself received without apparent distrust 
The legend of the mad Englishman on his motor-car 
had no doubt preceded me. The Russians do not 
dislike Englishmen, as individuals, in the way they 
dislike Germans. At all events I had no difficulty in 
making friends with many of the officers in command 
of frontier posts. They offered me hospitality, and 
showed no resentment at my somewhat daring ex- 
ploration of their frontier. 

At the first blush, everything seemed as peaceful 
on this side as on the other. The number of troops 
under arms was not excessive, and the men showed 
none of those signs of suppressed excitement which 
warn an experienced eye that some movement is in 


Presently, however, I began to remark an extra- 
ordinary number of telegraphic despatches arriving 
at the various posts. Special messengers seemed to 
come and go with a frequency that hardly seemed 
necessary in time of peace. At last, one night, I 
was roused from sleep by a sound which my ears 
were quick to recognise. It was the muffled rumble 
of an artillery train passing over the rough paving- 
stones of the small town in which I had stopped for 
the night. 

I got up, softly drew back the curtain of the 
window, and cautiously peeped out. There, in the 
moonlight, rolled by gun after gun, followed by 
the caissons and all the supplementaiy outfit of a 
park of artillery. 

They were heading southward, and the frontier 
lay only three miles away. I counted six batteries 
— thirty-six guns — the equipment of an army corps. 
When all had gone by I retired to rest again. 

I rose at break of day, took out my car, and 
followed in the route of the cannon. The road 
conducted me without a turning straight to the 
frontier post, where I found a sleepy Russian sentry 
exchanging friendly greetings with a still drowsier 
Austrian one. A short way beyond stood the 
Austrian guard-house, with the men lounging on a 
bench outside the door in the sunlight, waiting for 
their coffee. 


Everything was as if my vision of the night before 
had been a dream. 

I turned my car round, and drove back slowly, 
scrutinising every hedge and tree along both sides of 
the road. Less than a mile from the post my atten- 
tion was caught by a place on the left hand side, 
where the hedge appeared to have been mended or 
replanted. I ought to explain that the road was 
bordered at this point by a thick wood apparently 
impenetrable to anything bigger than a stoat 

I stopped the car, got down, and approached the 
hedge, examining every inch of the ground. 

The first discovery I made was that the road itself 
had been recently mended. Creases in the surface, 
like the ruts made by heavy wheels in turning, had 
been filled up, and the dust from other parts of the 
road carefully raked over the spot. 

Then, looking closely at the hedge, I perceived 
that the bushes were no longer growing in their 
place. The entire hedge had been cut away level 
with the ground for a space of several yards, 
and then replaced, the matted bushes being wired 
together so as to form a sort of gate or hurdle, like 
the furze hurdles in common use in England and 
other countries. The leaves were already banning 
to droop from want of the nourishment supplied by 
the roots. 

I drew up my car close to the hedge, and, mount- 


ing upon it, managed to scramble over into the wood, 
at the cost of some scratches 

I found myself in the midst of a pile of brush- 
wood which extended for some paces, completely 
covering the soil from view. Immediately beyond 
came a gap in the trees, not in front, but at one 
aide, so that it was quite invisible from the road 
Turning sharply towards the frontier, and running 
aknost parallel with the high road, was a grassy 
drive or lane, about ten feet wide, and sufficiently 
free from undergrowth to admit the passage of an 

With my heart thumping against my ribs, and 
almost holding my breath in my excitement, I stole 
along this path, which revealed, by a hundred 
tokens, that it had recently been used for heavy 
traffic. I followed its windings for I should think a 
mile and a half, when I found myself brought up 
abruptly by a post and rail fence, the posts being 
painted yellow on the side which faced me, and black 
on the reverse. 

This fence was the boundary between the two 
empires. A narrow footpath bordered it on each 
side, so that the patrol might pass along it each day 
on his rounda 

As for the artillery, it seemed to have disappeared, 
to have been swallowed up by the earth. 

I looked round me in all directian& The wood- 


land road by which I had reached the frontier 
stretched away on the other side of the fence. This 
was in itself a suspicious sign. It scarcely seemed 
likely that two independent drives would have been 
constructed so as to meet in the heart of the forest, 
unless there was some traffic meant to pass that 
way. All at once the explanation burst upon me. 
It was a smuggler's route ! 

The high tariffs of the Russian and Austrian 
empires have fostered an important contraband 
traffic. The soldiers who patrol the frontier are 
easily bribed by a share in the gains of the smugglers. 
What the Russian War Office had done was to bribe 
the smugglers in their turn to act as its allies in this 
strange invasion. 

I have used the word invasion. Unless my 
deductions were wholly false, the thirty-six guns 
which I had seen passing my window in the night 
were by this time actually planted on the soil of 

I sprang over the fence, and hurried forward on 
the still clearly revealed track. 

At the end of an hour from my first entrance into 
the forest, my ear caught a low murmur which 
warned me that I was drawing near to some kind of 
encampment. Striking from the lane into the wood, 
I advanced, creeping from tree to tree. But I have 
had few opportunities of learning woodcraft, and 


there were keener ears, and more stealthy footsteps 
than mine in the forest. Suddenly I felt a powerful 
hand gripping my throat, a dark cloth descended 
over my eyes, and I was thrown violently to the 

I did not lose consciousness, while I was lifted up 
hy the feet and shoulders, and carried a distance 
which I calculated at two hundred paces. After 
some twisting and turning I was set down, and the 
cloth was taken off my head. I sat up and looked 

I found myself in a small hut or wigwam of 
boughs and woven rushes, surrounded by half a 
dozen dark-fEtced men who squatted between me 
and the doorway, the only opening by which light 
was admitted. One glance at my captors satisfied 
me that they were neither soldiers nor Russians. 
Reassured on this point I prepared to defend myself 

The head man of the party appeared to be an old 
fellow with a short grey beard, who might have 
passed equally weU in the uncertain light for a 
Wallach, a Slovene, a gipsy, or a Jew, but certainly 
not for an honest man of any race. Addressing my- 
self to the chief of the smugglers, as I coilceived him 
to be, in Polish, I asked — 

* Why have you dared to treat me like this ? ' 

'He is a Pole!' The muttered exclamation 


solved my doubt as to the race of the smugglers. 
The language they used between themselves was 

'What were you doing in our wood?' the old 
gipsy asked threateningly. 

Before I had time to reply, the old man's eye 
suddenly lighted up. He took a step towards me, 
uttered an amazed ejaculation, and then, before I 
knew what was happening, fell on his knees before 
me, and, seizing my right hand, respectfully kissed 
a ring on the little finger. At the same time the 
other members of the party crowded round, evidently 
impatient to follow his example. 

The ring which excited this extraordinary demon- 
stration was one which I had worn so long that I 
had forgotten all about it. It had been given me 
seventeen years before, in Baghdad, by an old 
woman I had saved from the bastinado at the hands 
of a savage Pasha. 

She was a gipsy, I now remembered; she had 
forced the ring upon me against my will, and had 
urged me never to take it off night or day, assuring 
me in the dost solemn manner that it would one day 
be the means of saving my life. This prophecy, 
which I had laughed at as a vain boast and quickly 
forgotten, was coming true at last. 

Blessing the old lady with all my heart^ and in- 
wardly apologising to her for my past scepticism; I 


put on the air of one who was accustomed to, and 
expected, the homage he was receiving. 

' That wiU do, my friends/ I said, when each man 
had saluted the magic ring in turn — it was engraved 
with a pentagram. ' Now, if I give you some money, 
how long will it take you to procure some bottles of 
good wine?' 

A grunt of pleasure welcomed this inquiry. I 
heard a word which sounded like canteen. Then 
one of the men rose, in obedience to a nod from the 

' Cheni will fetch it in five minutes,' said the old 

I placed a double handful of gold in his out- 
stretched palms. A perfect salvo of approving cries 
greeted this munificence. 

While we were waiting for the wine to appear I 
offered an account of myself which appeared to be 
quite satisfetctory. I said I was a Pole, of gipsy 
descent through my mother, that I was engaged in 
a plot to bring about a general rising in the event of 
war between Austria and Russia, and that I was 
specially engaged to secure the support of the 
numerous gipsies along the frontier, who were to 
watch the movements of the two great belligerents 
on our behalf, a service for which they would be 
handsomely paid. 

The arrival of six bottles of first-rate Tokay gave 



all the confirmation to my words that was required 
As the wine vanished down their throats, the gipsies 
laid aside all reserve, and freely imparted to me 
what information they possessed 

They told me, in the first place, that the six 
batteries I was tracing were within a few yards 
of us, skilfully hidden among the trees. Their 
arrival brought the force designed for the occupa- 
tion of Galicia up to a total strength of eighty 
thousand men and seventy-two guns, all of whom 
had been secretly brought across the frontier at 
different points during the last few days, and were 
now ready to move in concert as soon as the 
signal was given, and overrun the unprepared 

Vast convoys of provisions were being held in 
readiness on the Russian side of the frontier, and 
a second army of one hundred and twenty thousand 
men was to be secretly mobilised in and around 
Warsaw, ready to come to the support of the first, 
in the event of serious resistance on the part of the 
Austrian Government. 

This last item rested on hearsay, but the presence 
of two army corps on Galician soil was a fact for 
which my informants were able to vouch from their 
own observation. The fact was known to every 
smuggler along the Galician frontier, and yet, so 
profuse were the bribes they had received^ and so 


perfect was their secrecy, that not the slightest hint 
had been suffered to reach any official of the Austrian 

I spent some hours of the most agonising suspense 
I haye ever known, in the company of these drunken, 
outlaws, before I dared to risk an effort to get away. 
Their suspicions, or rather their natural distrustful- 
ness, caused them to raise all sorts of objections to 
my departure. It was only by swearing on the sacred 
pentagram that no hair of their heads should ever 
be imperilled by any action of mine, that I was able 
to tear myself away. 

When I got out on to the high road again, at 
the spot where I had left my motor, I found, as I 
had feared, that it was no longer there. I turned at 
haphazard in the direction of the frontier post. As 
soon as I came in sight of the Russian guard-house, 
I saw, to my delight, my car standing on the road 
in the front of the door, with a group of interested 
soldiers curiously inspecting every part of it 

Now the car happened to be a Fanhard, of the 
most powerful construction yet turned out by the 
famous French firm. 

I strolled up carelessly, greeted the astonished 
soldiers in broken Russian, and asked them if they 
were familiar with the machine. The lieutenant of 
the post, a man in education and intelligence below 
the level of an English sergeant, bustled out and 


began questioning me, with the evident intention 
of ordering my arrest. 

I handed him my passport to read, a process which 
takes some time with an illiterate Russian officer, 
and went on explaining the mechanism of die car 
to the inquisitive soldiers. Finally I came to the 
driving power. 

*And now, my friends,' I said, *I will show you 
how the car is propelled. Stand back clear of the 
wheels, if you please. You see this lever. I place 
my hand on it so ' 

' Stay 1 ' shouted the officer, divining the danger in 
this demonstration. 

He spoke too late. As my hand grasped the 
lever, I vaulted into the car, and before the excited 
soldiers realised that it was under way, the Panhaid 
was tearing towards the boundary line at the rate of 
twenty-five miles an hour. 

The Russian sentry ran out into the middle of the 
road to stop me. He was a poor peasant, perhaps 
from the banks of the Volga, who must have thought 
that the Evil One himself was upon him. I saw his 
face blanch, and almost heard the chattering of his 
teeth, but he did not flinch from his duty. I rode 
right over him, and I am sorry to say that I believe 
he was killed. 

The Austrian sentry simply fired off his gun as 
a warning to his comrades at the guard-house further 

" I tode tight over him." 


along the road. They swarmed out, and I pulled up 
the machine. I had put the brake on immediately 
after crossing into Austrian territory. 

'In the Emperor's name!' I whispered to the 
Austrian officer of the guard. ' I am not an English- 
man, but a member of the Austrian Secret Service. 
By allowing me to pass without delay you will render 
the Oovernment a vital service.' 

' Tou have just killed a man/ the officer objected, 
pointing to the blood on my wheels. 

' I am afraid so. The fact that I killed a Russian 
sentiy in order to cross the frontier should convince 
you that I am in deadly earnest.' 

The officer, by some rare chance, was intelligent 
enough to believe me. 

* Pass on, sir,' he said. 

I pressed the lever, and set out on my mad race 
across an Empire to Vienna. I had nothing to eat 
or drink. I had no shields for my eyes ; the Russian 
soldiers must have removed them while the car was 
in their hands. I was utterly imprepared for my 
terrible journey. But some intuition warned me 
that every moment was precious, and I kept my 
splendid machine at full pressure for the whole five 
hundred miles. 

I will not attempt to describe that nightmare ride. 
Late in the evening of the following day, I alighted 
at the gate of the palace of Schonbrunn, worn-out, 



my face and hands chapped and bleeding, my eyes 
half-blinded with dust, and my strength nearly 

'The Emperor! Take me to the Emperor!' I 
gasped to the first person I met 'It is life or 
death ! ' 

I was conducted into the presence of a chamber- 
lain, who sought to impose all sorts of obstacles. 

'You cannot see his Majesty now. I dare not 
intrude upon him. He is closeted with the Arch- 
dukes. It is a Habsburg Family Council' 

' My Ood ! ' I cried out ' You have given me ten 
thousand reasons for insisting ! If it costs my life, 
I must interrupt his Majesty.' 

My violence cowed tl^e official. He conducted 
me, or, in fact, supported me, for I was almost 
too weak to stand, to the door of the Council 

'Oo in, if you must,' he said. 'For my part, I 
dare not announce you.' 

I turned the handle of the door, and staggered 
into the room. 

The spectacle which met my eyes was dazzling. 
In a blaze of light all the Archdukes of the Imperial 
House, wearing their uniforms and robes of State, 
were grouped in a semicircle, facing a throne on 
which the representative of the Cfiesars was seated in 
his Imperial mantle, wearing the great Double Eagle 


Crown of Austria. Before him, on a footstool, knelt 
a handsome lad of fifteen, in whom I had no difficulty 
in recognising the Archduke Earl, the destined 
successor to the throne. 

At the moment I burst in I saw the venerable 
Emperor raise his hands to his head, lift up the 
Imperial Crown, in which the huge diamonds and 
rubies and sapphires sparkled like founts of fire, 
and hold it poised in the air over his young kins- 
man's bent head. In another second it would have 
rested on the boy's brow, and Francis-Joseph would 
have ceased to reign. 


My voice rang out like the hoarse scream of a 
drunkard. I tottered forward and fell on my knees, 
while the Emperor half rose from his throne, still 
grasping the great crown in both hands. 

'Pardon, sire! At this hour a Russian army of 
eighty thousand men is encamped upon the soil 
of Austria ! ' 

Francis - Joseph sank back on his seat, and 
mechanically replaced the diadem on his own head. 

The explanations which followed between the 
two Grovemments were not communicated to me. 
But I learned through my friends the gipsies that 
the discovery of the motor, and my subsequent flight 
gave the alarm to the Russian War Office. The 



invading force retired as stealthily as it had come, 
and all vestiges of its having crossed the frontier 
were so speedily and skilfully effaced that if Count 
Lamsdorff fell back on a denial of the truth, it is 
probable that the Austrian Government found itself 
imable to press the charge. 

So the evil day has been postponed ; for, as long 
as Francis- Joseph reigns over the Dual Monarchy 
Russia will be content to bide her time. 

In the meanwhile I have been informed that a 
warrant has been issued against me, in the Russian 
courts, for the murder of the sentry whose fate I 
have described. 



It is with painful feelings, and only after long con- 
sideration, that I have resolved to lift the yeil from 
the tragic mystery which surrounds the fate of the 
Queen who perished under the knives of assassins 
in Be^ade in the month of June 1903. 

The hesitation I have felt in approaching this 
melancholy story is due to reasons of a personal 
character. Many years before, when the late Queen 
of Servia occupied a private station, it was my lot to 
meet her, and to fall under the spell of that fEiscina- 
tion which this extraordinary woman possessed over 
men, and which will cause her to be remembered 
in history with Helen and Cleopatra, and all those 
enchantresses who have involved kingdoms in ruin 
by their charms. 

I had no right to suppose that the Countess, as 
she then was, distinguished me from the crowd of 
those who paid homi^e to her ; but yet it seems as 
though I had in some manner inspired her with a 
feeling of confidence and regard wanner than that 


usually felt by any woman for a man who is neither 
her lover nor her kinsman. 

I believe myself to be the only survivor of the 
tragedy who possesses the key to that strange and 
terrible career, and that in imparting my knowledge 
to the world I am discharging what has become a 
sacred duty to the dead. 

"With this i^ology I will come straight to the 

It was some years since I had seen or heard 
anything of the Countess Draga, though, of course, 
I was aware, in common with all well-informed 
students of contemporary politics, of the passion 
which she had inspired in the young King of 
Servia, when I was astonished by receiving one day 
a private letter from her, imploring me to come to 
Belgrade at once to advise her on a matter of the 
highest importance. 

I lost no time in obeying the siunmons, by which 
I was singularly moved, since there is only one 
thing which can ever be of the highest importance 
to a woman. 

It was in the courtyard garden of an old stone- 
walled Servian house — more like a fortified farm- 
house than a private mansion — that the revelation 


burst on my ears which was so soon to startle the 
capitals of Europe. 
A fountain plashed into a marble basii^ strewn 


with rose leaves, and the faint scent of myrtle and 
lemon blossom came from the curtain of shrubs 
which screened the gateway in the thick grey walL 
The beautiful woman whose name was the object of 
maledictions throughout a continent, reclined on a 
low couch heaped with Oriental cushions, and fixed 
her dark eyes on me with a tragic intensity of 
appeal^ as she confessed her secret. 

'I need, the advice of a disinterested friend, one 
who stands apart from the intrigues which centre 
round the Servian throne.' 

I sat upright on the French chair provided for 
me, and gazed down at her, outwardly calm and 
stem as ever, but gripping the throttle of emotions 
whose strength none can know but mysel£ 

'My advice will be disinterested in one sense,' I 
answered slowly. * I care nothing for the plots and 
conspiracies which, under the name of politics, serve 
as a substitute for the old brigandage of the Balkans. 
But I am interested in your happiness.' 

The Countess Draga let her eyelids fall for a 
moment as a quick spasm of pain crossed her 

'Do not let us speak of my happiness,' she said in 
low tones. ' It is of Alexander I must think' 

I folded my arms across my chest, and said 
^ ' He has asked me to be his Consort' 


I did not succeed in quite concealing the astomah- 
ment with which I heard this piece of news, as yet 
unsuspected by Europe, and for which my friend 
Baron Rothschild would gladly have paid 1,000,000 

'I refused him,' the Countess added; 'I have 
refused him not once but twice, but he persists.' 

' Kings ought to marry kings' children,' I observed, 
as she seemed to wait for some expression of opinion 
from me. 

' Add that boys ought to marry girls and not grown 
women, and you will say what the world will say as 
soon as it hears of this,' she returned, with some 
bitterness. 'That is what I have told Alexander; 
and he has sworn upon the crucifix in my presence 
that he will marry only me.' 

' Leave Servia. Spend a year on the Riviera — or 
in Paris ' — she glanced swiftly at me as I said this— 
' and he may change his resolution.' 

The Servian's reply startled me. 

'I cannot. At this moment I am under secret 

' Under arrest ? ' 

'You forget that Alexander has made himself 
master, and that reasons of State cover a great deal 
in Servia which they would not cover bx France.' 

I was staggered. A stranger situation I had never 
encountered in all my strange experience. 


'He holds you a prisoner till you consent to 
become his Queen ! ' 

* Till I become his Queen/ she corrected. 

I sat stUl for a minute, considering. The chancel- 
leries and the public of Europe would never believe 
this story. They would think, they were already 
thinking and saying, that the Countess was an 
adventuress, luring the young King to his ruin. 

' There is one very simple solution/ I said at last. 
* I will arrange your escape.' 

' Impossible 1 ' she sighed. 

I frowned. 

' Pardon me, my dear Countess, but when you did 
me the honour to consult me, I assumed that you 
had some confidence in my ability. I offer to take 
you wherever you wish to go.' 

'Tou misunderstand me, my dear friend. I do 
not doubt your power to release me. But my flight 
would become a public event; Alexander has too 
little self-restraint to keep silence about it. I should 
thus damage him as much as by accepting the 
throne which he offers me. He has sworn, moreover, 
that if I persist in my refusal, he will abdicate.' 

With what sophistries will a woman deceive her- 
self where her heart is concerned ! And how worse 
than useless is it to reason with her. 

' Tou have told me enough,' I answered, in a voice 
which was melancholy in spite of myself. 'I per- 


ceive that this young monarch is not indifferent to 

The lovely Serrian lowered her glance, and began 
picking a rose to pieces with her delicate fingers. 

' He is my King/ she murmured. * He is the last 
of the dynasty of Obrenovitch, which my family have 
served faithfully for a hundred years. The one thing 
which alarms me most in the whole situation is that 
I have been urged to accept the King's hand by 
Colonel Masileff/ 

•Colonel Masileff?' 

'Who is understood to be the secret head of the 
party in favour of Prince Peter KarageorgevitclL' 

I now imderstood the seriousness of the affair, 
since it was clear that whatever step was favoured 
by the supporters of the Karageorgevitch claimant 
must be fraught with some danger to the Obreno- 

* Is Alexander aware of this fact ? ' 

' I have told him, but he considers it an excuse on 
my part. Perhaps, if you were to warn him, he 
might listen to you.' 

I did not much relish the task of forcing my 
advice on a headstrong youth, intoxicated with love 
and sovereignty. In the end I decided to return 
from Belgrade through Switzerland and take an 
opportunity of finding out something about Alex- 
ander's rival for the Servian crown. 


But the ways of women are proverbially difficult 
to calculate. 

While I was still lingering in Belgrade, on the 
look-out for some useful introduction to Prince Peter, 
the world was startled by the public announcement 
of the forthcoming marriage of the King and the 

I went at once to wait on the prospective Queen 
of Servia to tender my formal congratulations. I 
found her already surrounded by a throng of cour- 
tiers, among whom I discerned the lean military 
figure and vulture nose of the man whom Draga her- 
self had denounced to me a few days before — ^Colonel 

So magical is the influence of royalty that I found 
myself able to detect a diiference already in the 
manner, and even in the very voice, of the woman 
who had bared her heart to me so short a time befora 
She was gracious and cordial, but it was the gracious- 
ness and cordiality of a Sovereign to a subject, rather 
than that of a beautiful woman to a man. 

Coming away I thrust my arm through that of the 
formidable Colonel 

' Have you any commands for Geneva ? ' I asked. 
' I shall be there in the course of two days.' 

Masileff let himself be surprised. 

' But I thought you were a friend of the Countess ? ' 
he stammered. 


' Certainly — as you are/ I retorted. ' It seems to 
me that the Countess is doing a very good stroke 
of work for a cause in which you and I are both 

Masileff glanced at me with curiosity. 

'Do you know, Monsieur Y ' (I had not seen 

cause to disguise my identity on this occasion), * that 
I think you must be more fortunate than I am. 
That is to say, I think you must possess the confi- 
dence of a person who has not yet honoured me by 
a sign that my services are acceptable to him/ 

'Thank you, Colonel/ I replied, bowing. 'Your 
message shall be delivered in the right quarter/ 

I left Belgrade the same night, and two days later 
found myself in the presence of a quiet, elderly man 
in a modest apartment near the famous Lake 

I had sent in my card with the pencilled addition : 
' Confidential agent of the Tsar, the Crerman Emperor, 
and Monsieur Chamberlain.' 

I felt sure that the names of the powerful trium- 
virate who, between them, controlled the destinies of 
the Old World, would secure me the attention of 
Prince Peter Earageorgevitch ; and I was not mis- 

The Prince received me with a real or assumed 
nervousness, and expressed himself anxious to receive 
any message I might have for him. 


'I have no message of any importance for your 
Highness/ I replied, scrutinising carefully the care- 
worn features of the elderly man who sat in front of 
me. 'My only message at all is one frt)m Colonel 
MasilefF, which is perhaps not worth your attention.' 

* I have heard of the Colonel, and shall be pleased 
to hear anything on his behalf/ the Prince replied 

' Colonel Masileff is a little disappointed, sir, that 
your Highness has not offered him any token of your 
approbation. He would welcome some sign that you 
are not indifferent to your friends in Servia.' 

Prince Peter looked at me with a glance which, 
though quiet, was not less searching than my 

* I thank you, Monsieur V . Is that all ? ' 

* It is the whole of the message, sir/ 
' Again, thank you.' 

'Your Highness does not wish to make me the 
medium of your answer, perhaps ? ' I hinted. 

' There is no answer.' 

I perceived that I was dealing with a man of no 
ordinary penetration and shrewdness. With such 
men it is always best to come straight to the point 
and to be frank. 

* And now, sir, for the real object of my visit. I 
need not tell your Highness that I did not come to 
Geneva to oblige Colonel Masileff' 



' That is already quite clear/ the Prince commented 

A remark from which I inferred that it was in the 
power of MasilefF to have given me credentials which 
would have secured me a very different reception. 

' I have come here, then, to beg for the life of a 

Earageorgevitch started slightly, and began for 
the first time to look uneasy. 

' I thought you said you had no important message/ 
he reminded me. 

'I have none. The woman I speak of is totally 
ignorant of the step I take in coming here.' 

' Then your interest in the matter is ? ' 

' Is personal merely. I make it my private prayer 
to your Highness that, in a certain event which no 
longer seems improbable, the Ufe of this woman shaU 
be spared.' 

Prince Peter gave an imperceptible shrug, a shrug 
which said very plainly, nevertheless, *I have no 
motive for obliging you.' 

Aloud his Highness remarked — 

' I am strongly opposed to all bloodshed. Monsieur 

V . I feel sure there is no reality in the danger 

you foresee, or I should be as earnest as yourself in 
wishing to prevent it' 

' I can say no more, sir ; I am here, as I have said, 
merely in my private capacity. Still, I happen to 


have rendered important services to some very power- 
ful personages ' (the Prince glanced at the names I 
had inscribed on my card), 'and, without being a 
blackmailer, I feel confident that if I appealed to 
those personages for their influence on behalf of a 
righteous and honourable cause, I should not be 

Prince Peter rose to his feet, and walked twice up 
and down the room before replying. 

' It is evident to me,' he said at length, ' that you 
have a strong personal interest in the new Queen of 
Servia, and that you are a man who is to be trusted. 
That being so, I will explain to you frankly my posi- 
tion. I have friends in Servia who desire to see the 
restoration of my dynasty, and derive much confi- 
dence from the misconduct of this youth in whom 
the Obrenovitch line terminates. 

' Their reports reach me regularly, and I am there- 
fore able to anticipate their plans to some extent. 
But I have resolved that if I am ever to seat myself on 
the Servian throne, I must keep my hands clean. 
For that reason I have never committed myself by 
approving any of the measures contemplated on my 

' If MasileflF really told you he never heard from 
me, he told you the actual truth. I have never yet 
returned any answer to any of the communications I 
receive aknost weekly from Belgrade. To that rule 


I must adhere. All I can promise you is this, that 
if hereafter I receive any information which conyinces 
me that the life of the Countess Draga is in danger, 
I will at once break silence, and send a peremptory 
order to my friends that she is to be allowed to leave 
the country in safety.' 

I thanked the Servian prince for this pledge, which 
was all I had any right to expect. The claimant to 
a Crown could hardly be asked to veto all attempts 
on his behalf on the mere chance that some of them 
might endanger the lives of the reigning family. 

I returned to Paris, and sought to distract my- 
self in my work from brooding over the tragedy 
which seemed to be shaping itself in the Servian 

As we had both foreseen. Queen Draga incurred 
the obloquy of the world by marrying Alexander. 
Her reputation was sacrificed to his, and I believe 
that she deliberately posed as the instigator of all 
his violent and injudicious measures, in the hope 
of acting, so to speak, as a conductor of the popular 
wrath, and thereby saving her husband. 

Had she been able at the same time to wean 
Alexander from his wild passion for herself, he and 
his dynasty might have been preserved. It is the 
charitable view to take that the young King was not 
fully responsible for his acts at this tima The 
distressing circumstances of his bringing-up, the 


fatal inheritance of his father's example and influence, 
render it impossible to regard Alexander Obrenovitch 
as a normal young man. 

The long period of suspense which I passed 
through, while watching from Paris over the safety 
of the Queen of Servia, was at last put an end 
to by a cypher telegram from the agent whom I 
had stationed in Belgrade unknown even to Draga 

' Death of Kvng fioced for next week. Queen Taust 
be peravxided to fly at once.' 

The despatch reached me just half an hour before 
the departure of the Oriental express, into which 
I flung myself panting as it began to glide out of 
the station. 

My agent, warned from Vienna, met me as I 
alighted in Belgrade. 

The pallor of his countenance told me that he 
had bad news to communicate. 

'The worst — instantly!' I exclaimed, in Polish, 
a language I have taught to all the most trusted 
members of my staff 

' Nothing has happened,' he stammered out ' But 
I tried to give a hint to the Queen ; she has passed 
it on to her husband. The conspirators have learned 
that suspicion has been aroused in the Palace; 
and ' 

'And what?' I sei2ed him by the wrist 


'The assassination is to be carried out to-night, 
instead of next week.' 

' To-night ! ' 

Exhausted as I was by the long journey, this news 
ahnost broke me down. I had to lean against my 
agent for support 

The poor wretch, conscious that he had blundered 
disastrously, dared not meet my eye, and I felt him 

It is my maxim never to be angry with an 
employee except for bad faith. If an agent of 
mine blunders or breaks down I consider the fault 
is mine for having intrusted him with a task be- 
yond his powers. Besides, there are no perfect 
instruments. In my own career I have made two 

Therefore I assured the imfortunate man that all 
was well, since Queen Draga was yet aliva We 
went together to the house in which my agent had 
been residing for some time in the character of 
correspondent of the Havas Agency. There I 
assumed the Servian dress which he had had the 
forethought to prepare for me, and, disguised as a 
soiiS'Officier, I set ofif for the Palace. 

My military uniform naturally inspired confidence 
in the sentries, those in the plot no doubt supposing 
that I was so, also. 

I made my way round to a side entrance, suitable 


to my apparent station, and there, by my agent's 
advice, asked to see Anna Fetrovitch, the waiting- 
maid who had shared the Queen's fortunes for many 

I was admitted without any demur, and presently 
Anna herself appeared. She took me apart into a 
small chamber apparently used by the upper servants 
of the Palace, and asked me what I wanted. 

'I must see the Queen immediately, in private/ 
I answered. 

'Tou cannot do that. Her Majesty is just sitting 
down to dinner. What is your name; and what 
do you want to see her about ? ' 

' My name does not matter. I come as a friend, 
and I bring her Majesty a message from one who 
wishes her well.' 

I knew that if this woman were really in Draga's 
confidence these words would not fall unheeded. 

* Cannot you tell me something more ? I will try 
to get you an audience as soon as dinner is over, 
provided I am sure that you are a friend.' 

'Listen!' I bent forward and whispered in her 
ear. 'Have you ever heard the Queen mention a 
certain Monsieur V ? ' 

The woman gave a start of joy» impossible to be 

* You come from him 7 ' 
I bowed. 


' Then I will endeavour to let the Queen know at 
once. In the meantime, follow me.' 

Anna conducted me up one of the back staircases 
of the Palace and along a corridor, till we arriyed 
at a door, which she unlocked with a key taken out 
of her pocket. 

I found myself in a small bedroom, humbly, but 
comfortably furnished. 

'This is my own room. The Queen's boudoir is 
reached through that door,' she explained) pointing 
to it 'Wait here, and excuse me if I take the 
precaution of locking you in.' 

'Stay,' I said sharply. 'In situations like this I 
trust no one. Give me the key, and I will lock 
myself in, and open to your knock.' 

The servant made no objection, and a signal was 
arranged between us; after which she stole away, 
leaving me there in the gathering dusk, with the 
fate of a kingdom trembling in the balance. 

Of my feelings during the next half hour it wouM 
be useless to speak. Murder, red-armed and tiger- 
eyed, was whetting its knife against the bosom of 
the woman whom I would gladly have died to save. 
And I could do nothing but stand there and gaze 
furtively through the window for the first sign of 
the approaching cyclone. 

At the end of thirty eternal minutes the expected 
knock came at the outer door. I took out my 

'■ 1 took out my l™,lc.l revolver, cuckf.l ii. nn.i a-lvai 

P n>g^^ i^0 * ► ^^^ *^^^W •**•• ^^^^ —^^1 •^^^ ^to b 



loaded revolver, cocked it, and advanced to the 

* Who is there ? • 

'The Queen's friend/ came the expected answer. 

I unlocked the door, opened it just widely enough 
to admit the waiting-maid, and promptly shut and 
locked it again. 

' The Queen knows you are here, but she dares not 
leave the table for another half hour. At the end 
of that time she will be in her boudoir, and will 
admit us.' 

I took out my watch, and cursed each dilatory hand. 

'Is the danger so pressing, then?' asked the 
frightened womaii. 

'I do not know how pressing it is,' I answered 
gloomily. * I cannot even be sure that Queen Draga 
will be suffered to leave that table alive.' 

'Oh, you are mistaken there!' Anna exclaimed. 
' My mistress is safe. She has had a private assur- 
ance that she will be allowed to flee.' 

'Has she fled?' I retorted. I thought I knew 
Draga better than her servant did. 

Silence followed. The knowledge that Prince 
Peter had evidently contrived to give orders on 
behalf of the Queen, in the event of violence being 
employed, soothed me to some extent. Nevertheless, 
a sad and terrible presentiment warned me to expect 
the wont 



A low scratching on the inner door, that leading 
into the Royal boudoir, told us that the yictim was 
still alive. A bolt was withdrawn, and the next 
moment I found myself in Queen Draga's presence. 

It was the same woman whom I had left a few 
years ago, in the full bloom of her womanhood, 
but how changed, how stricken! The harassed 
brow, the himted look in the eyes, the grey streaks 
in the hair, all told me what the difference had 
been between the lot of the Queen and the simple 

' You are from Monsieur ? ' she whispered. 

I drew myself up. Recognition flashed in her 

* You are Andrea ! ' 

That word repaid me for everything. I went 
down on one knee, and pressed her offered fingers 
to my lips. 

It was only by the light of the moon that we 
were able to see each other. Anna was moving 
towards the key of the electric lamps, but the 
Queen forbade her with a gestura 

* Now, tell me, what is it ? ' 

' You must this very minute put on Anna's dress, 
and leave the Palace with me. We shall go straight 
to the railway, where my agent has by this time 
chartered a special train.' 

Draga drew back unconvinced. 


* The assassination is fixed for next Tuesday/ she 

' It is fixed for to-night/ 

* To-night ? You must be mistaken/ 
I smiled bitterly. 

'The Tsar of Russia has never said that to me, 

'But how? — ^when? — Your own agent told me— 
if he was your agent ' 

I waved my hand impatiently. 

' All that was true three days ago, madam. Your 
Majesty told King Alexander, and the conspirators 
have advanced the hour in consequence.' 

For the first time the heroic woman turned pale, 
and began to tremble. 

' At what hour to-night is it ? ' 

'I have not ascertained. For ought I know the 
assassins are at this moment surrounding the Palaca 
There may be just time for you to leave.' 

' But the King ! Alexander ! My husband 1 * 

* I do not think there will be time for him to leave 
as well/ I said gravely. 

Queen Draga threw one hand across her breast 
with a superb defiance. • 

' I do not go without my husband, sir.' 

I was torn between admiration and despair. 

' I should have done better to remain in Paris, I 
perceive/ I said sullenly. 


' On the contrary, dear Andrea, I, who know you 
so well, know that you have the heroism of soul to 
save the man you hate at the prayer of the woman 
you love.* 

I stood thunderstruck, while she crossed the room 
into the adjoining bedchamber, and sounded a silver 

' Inform his Majesty that I desire to see him very 
particularly as soon as possible/ 

The servant who had answered the bell bowed 
and withdrew, with startled looks, from which I 
was inclined to suspect that he was in the pay of 
the assassins. Fortunately, he had not been able 
to see me where I stood. 

The Queen now began hurriedly to change her 
dress for one more suitable for the emergency. 
Meanwhile there was no sign that her message had 
reached Alexander. 

' You have been betrayed, madam,' I observed at 
last. 'That servant was a traitor. I saw it in his 

Draga uttered a cry of despair. 

' You, Anna, you go and bring the King here at 
all costs.' 

Anna darted out of the room. 

The Queen, too terribly anxious to go on with 
her own preparations for flight, paced the room like 
a lioness listening for the approach of the hunters. 


Five minutes passed — ten minutes — a quarter of 
a year! Then a step was heard in the adjoining 
room, and the young King of Servia, his dark face 
flushed with wrath, strode in. 

'What is all this? Are you trying to frighten 
me, Draga?' 

He saw me and stopped, at the same time putting 
his hand to his side where his sword should have 
been. The weapon was missing, perhaps by accident. 

* This is our best friend, Alexander. He has come 
to saye us. The assassins have changed their plans, 
and will be here to-night A special train has been 
got ready, and if you can leave the Palace in disguise, 
all will be well.' 

The ascendency of a powerful intellect in the 
moment of danger made itself felt. Alexander 
looked about him, half-dazed, as the poor youth 
well might be, by the ghastly imminence of the 

* What disguise can I wear ? ' he demanded, in a 
choked voica 

' Change clothes with your valet,' the Queen replied, 
with feminine quickness. 'This gentleman afibms 
that he is one of the conspirators.' 

* Constantine ! Impossible I I do not believe it' 
Draga wrung her hands. 

' I cannot save him. He is obstinate ! ' she sobbed. 
The sob conquered the stubborn narrow mind 


which would have resisted all argument. Alexander 
darted into his dressing-room, from which the valet 
was jUBt trying to escape. 

Seizing the man by the throat, Alexander dealt 
him a blow on the temple which deprived him of 
his senses. I had followed his Majesty, and I now 
stripped the valet while the King hastily undressed. 
While the King was assuming the disguise thus pro- 
vided for him, I carried the insensible man into the 
bedroom, and placed him between the royal sheeta 

At this moment the white face of Anna Petrovitch 
appeared in the doorway beyond. 

'They are coming! I see them outside in the 

'Quick, quick!* burst from the lips of Queen 
Draga, whose self-possession seemed almost un- 
natural. And she pushed her husband towards the 
door of his own dressing-room. 

'This way?' he exclaimed, his mind unable to 
keep pace with hers. 

* Yes. You are Constantino. You are in the plot, 
remember. You must let them in to kill your 
master, who is asleep.' 

I shuddered. My suspicion — for it was hardly 
more — was going to be fatal to the valet. 

'Go with him,' Queen Draga added, turning to 
me. 'I am safe. I need neither protection nor 
guidance. He needs both. I adjure you, Andrea ! ' 


Swept away by the torrent of her impetuosity, I 
followed Alexander to the dressing-room. 

Draga herself came to the door, and closed it 
softly after us. 

We were just in time to meet a party of a dozen 
soldiers, headed by Colonel Masileff himself. 

Stepping past the young King, who was shaking 
like a leaf, I whispered in MasilefTs ear — 

' Be quiet, or you will awake him. He is lying on 
the bed, drunk.' 

The soldiers filed m past us, not one casting so 
much as a glance at our faces, shrouded by the 

The moment the last man had stepped across the 
threshold of the dressmg-room, I togk Alexander 
by the arm and drew, or rather dragged, him out 
into the corridor, and down the great staircase of 
the Palace. 

We passed out unquestioned. It did not occur 
to one of the men whom we found outside that 
Masileff could have missed his prey. 

My uniform was enough to disarm suspicion, for 
it was that of a regiment in which every man had 
sworn on the Gospel not to let Alexander escape 
alive. My agent had served me well. 

We found him at the station. The special train 
was ready, with steam up, waiting for the signal to 
place us in safety on the soil of Austria. 


I made Alexander take his seat in the meanest 
compartment, while I waited outside the station for 
the appearance of the two women. 

I waited a long time. 

From the Ufwn, all buried in darkness, there came 
sounds of tumult and exultation, which must have 
shaken the heart of the young man in the train. 

It was not till I had been there for nearly three- 
quarters of an hour that I saw one female form 
creeping feebly along the road towards the station. 

I darted out to meet her, and uttered an oath. 

Anna Petrovitch fell weeping into my arms, with 
the doleful cry: 'Queen Draga is dead! Queen 
Draga is dead ! ' 

Five minutes later I had placed the desolate 
creature in the train, and we were speeding on our 
way to Vienna. 

It was in the train that I learned the few parti- 
culars that Anna had to tell. But I had already 
guessed the nature of the catastrophe. 

Another party of soldiers, headed by a personal 
enemy of the Queen's, had invaded the Royal suite 
through the waiting-maid's room at the instant 
that Masileff and his men burst into the bedroom 
where the valet was lying insensibla Whether 
Draga's life might really have been spared or not, it 
is impossible to say. The heroic woman^s resolution 
was instantly taken. She knew that if the valet were 


recognised there would at once be a hue and cry, and 
that the King would be pursued and probably taken ; 
and she resolyed to give her life for her husband's. 
She cast herself on the inanimate form lying on the 
bed, concealed the face in her arms, and allowed 
herself to be stabbed by a dozen bayonets. 

Of the savage details of the murder I dare not 
trust myself to writQ. To those who know how 
thin is the veneer of civilisation on the Southern 
Slaves, how faint is the moral difference between some 
of these so-called Christians and their Mohammedan 
neighbours, it will not come as a surprise to learn 
that when the bloodhounds desisted from their work 
there was no longer any possibility of recognising 
either of their victims. 

Of the young King, and what has become of him 
since that hideous night, I intend to say no single 
word. Of her who perished, let no man henceforth 
say anything but good. 



It is always a delicate matter for a foreigner to 
write about the Sovereign of another country in 
such a way as to be acceptable to his subjects. In 
case I, a citizen of the United States, should. unwit- 
tingly offend any English prejudices in the following 
narrative, I can only assure my readers that I am 
actuated by no feeling but that of the most sincere 
respect for the greatest of living Sovereigns and the 
mighty people over whom he reigns. 

In the summer of 1902 the whole world was dis- 
mayed by the news that the Coronation of Eling 
Edward YII. had been postponed at the last moment, 
on account of his Majesty's grave state of health. 

The Governments of the Continent, ever distrust- 
ful, and prone to credit others with their own 
Machiavellian statecraft, eagerly asked themselves 
if the official explanation of this event was genuine, 
or whether it did not conceal some subtle political 

As a result, I found myself commissioned by a 


certain great Power to go oyer to London, and ascer- 
tain the true state of affairs. 

Needless to say, my inquiries enabled me in a very 
short time to report to my employers that their sus- 
picions were groundless. 

In the course of the brief investigation I was 
brought into personal touch with a man of high 
rank, occupying a confidential position in the Royal 
Household — the Marquis of Bedale. The manner in 
which I carried out my delicate mission caused 
Lord Bedale to compliment me highly upon my 
courage and discretion, and I have every reason to 
think that his lordship spoke in favourable terms of 
me to his exalted master. 

Before I left England I was surprised and gratified 
to receive a request from Lord Bedale to wait upon 
him in his private apartment in Buckingham Palace, 
on confidential business.^ 

His lordship received me in the friendliest fashion, 
and talked to me quite freely. 

' Let me begin,' he said, ' by asking you for your 
firank opinion on our Secret Service.' 

' The Secret Service of Great Britain is the most 
scrupulously conducted in the world,' I replied 

^ Ab I have stated already, whenever in the coarse of these 
disclosures I repeat a private conversation, I do so in the interest 
of the other party to it, if not in every case with his express per- 
mission. — A. V. 


Lord Bedale gave me a queer smile. 

' That means, I suppose, that it is the most in- 
efficient ? ' he suggested. 

' It is the worst paid/ I said, by way of extenua- 
tion. ' I have heard that the total amount voted for 
this purpose by the British Parliament is only 
£40,000, but that sounds incredible.' 

' I am afraid it is not far from the truth,* Lord 
Bedale answered. ' We have acted in the belief that 
the Britbh Empire was too strong to care about what 
its enemies were planning.' 

'I should think the Boer War must have made 
you realise that such a policy was not the cheapest 
in the long run,' I ventured to remark. 

' It has shown me so, at all events,' he answered, 
*and possibly some others. You will not offend me 

in the least. Monsieur V , if you tell me plainly 

that you consider our Intelligence Department the 
weakest branch of our Foreign Service, and utterly 
unworthy of an Empire with such world-wide interests 
as ours.' 

I was obliged to admit that such was my opinion. 
His lordship proceeded. 

' This state of thii^ constitutes a national danger. 
In a coimtry like ours, run on democratic lines, it 
is almost hopeless to look to Parliament for any 
improvement. The only remedy is for some one 
who has the interests of his country at heart to 


supplement the work of the public service by a 
private intelligence department conducted at his 
own expense, just as in the case of a newspaper 

I gave the speaker a quick glance of interrogation. 
I happened to be aware that the Marquis, in spite of 
his high rank, was not a very wealthy man, and it 
was therefore clear to me that he was not speaking 
of himself. 

'Such a person as you describe would, indeed, 
deserve well of his country/ was all I thought it 
prudent to say. 

'I shall be glad if you will consider me as the 
person concerned,' Lord Bedale said in a tone which 
warned me that I was on delicate ground. ' I have 
sent for you to ask if you will accept a conmiission 
from me to act as a Secret Service agent in the 
interests of Great Britain.' 

I hesitated. It is my fixed rule to deal only with 
principals, and I could not escape the conclusion that 
Lord Bedale was merely the agent of another. 

' Will you let me ask your lordship one question 7 ' 
I said. ' Do you offer me this commission as a private 
citizen solely, or am I at liberty to infer, from your 
position in the Royal Household, that you have no 
concealments from the exalted personage you serve, 
and that by accepting your offer I shall, in effect, 
be serving his Majesty 7' 


The Marquis studied mj face carefully before 

'It seems to me that such an inference is right 
and natural, and one that you are bound to make/ 
he said slowly. 

* Then I shall feel highly honoured by accepting,' I 
returned, bowing. 

The question of terms was disposed of to our 
mutual satisfaction. I came away from the Palace 
filled with reverence for the monarch who, unless I 
were completely deceived, had decided to contribute 
out of his private purse to the defence of the great 
Empire whose politicians were so neglectful of its 

On my return to Paris I set to work to organise 
a special department for the purpose of collecting 
intelligence likely to be of importance to the British 

I was amused to find that several of the secret 
agents in the service of the British Foreign Office 
were receiving much larger salaries from the Russian 
Government than from the one they were supposed 
to act for. Among other similar discoveries my 
agents reported to me that a certain British Yice- 
Consul in the Euphrates Valley, a Greek by extrac- 
tion, had secretly taken out letters of naturalisation 
as a German subject. It was on this man's recom- 
mendation chiefly that the British Government had 


been induced to give its countenance to the project 
for a German railway to Baghdad. 

I duly forwarded this and other items to Lord 
Bedale, but I could not perceive that any notice was 
taken of them by the Foreign Office. Probably the 
permanent staff resented the idea that they were 
being checked and inspected, and determined to show 
that they were not going to let even their monarch 
interfere with them. 

But all this was merely preliminary. I was on the 
eve of a discovery of so much moment that I have 
often asked myself since whether, but for me, the 
British Empire would be in existence to-day. 

Newspaper readers may recollect that not very 
long ago a sharp passage of words took place between 
a Gterman Minister and an English statesman whom 
I will not indicate more closely in the present excited 
state of party politics. Although in appearance but a 
quarrel of Ministers, it was perfectly well understood 
on the Continent that the Count von BtQow was only 
the mouthpiece of his Imperial master on this occa- 
sion. Europe gasped at the spectacle of this political 
thunderstorm, in which the lurking hatred of Germany 
towards England was for the first time brought to the 
surface, and exposed. 

I knew the character of both of these formidable 
peoples too well to believe that the incident would 
have no after effects. As by the glare of a lightning- 


flash, there stood revealed before me the figures of 
the two great protagonists, contending together for 
the mastery in a war raging over three continent& 

Very soon after Lord Bedale, or whoever stood 
behind him, had confided the safety of Great 
Britain to my care, I repaired in disguise to Berlin. 
My instinct taught me that this capital was the true 
storm-centre, and that from here, rather than St 
Petersburg, would be directed the designs of any 
really dangerous movement against the country of 
Edward VII. 

My first visit after my arrival was paid to the 
Director of the Imperial Secret Service, my old 
friend Finkelstein. I felt it would be impossible for 
me to remain long in the Grerman capital without 
my presence becoming known to this astute chief of 
police, and I deemed it the most prudent course 
to throw him off his guard at the outset. 

I caused myself to be announced as Father 
d'Aurignac, of the Order of Uie Assumptionists. 
My assumed character completely imposed on Finkel- 
stein, and I opened the conversation by saying — 

'I have come here in consequence of the perse- 
cution of the Order now being carried on by the 
French Republic. We are obliged to seek other 
homes, it being impossible for us to remain in 
Franca A large number of houses have been 
transferred to England, but my brethren and I 


detest that country so much that we wish to settle 
in Germany instead. I have been deputed to ascer- 
tain what treatment we are likely to receive at the 
hands of the authorities.' 

'That is not in my department/ Finkelstein 
answered. 'You should apply to the Minister of 
the Interior.' 

'You misunderstand me,' I returned smoothly. 
'I do not doubt that we shall be permitted to 
settle here. The question is, how much inde- 
pendence we shall enjoy from police supervision. 
In France we were always able to maintain ex- 
ceedingly friendly relations with the police. We 
are, of course, a very wealthy Order.* 

Finkelstein's eyes sparkled. I knew that he was 
in receipt of a secret pension from the exiled claimant 
to the throne of a State annexed by Prussia in 1866. 
It was evident that he was perfectly ready to do 

' You will find that the Berlin police exercise the 
greatest tact towards communities of high character 
like yours,' he said eagerly. 

I lay back in my chair and threw off my hood, as 
I observed — 

'My dear Finkelstein, I see that you are not 

The Director's consternation was quite laughable 
to witness. 

' V !' he exclaimed, drawing back as if he had 

been stung ; then he added, in a tone of hesitation : 
* My old friend ? ' 

*Yes; your friend — and your ally, if you will 
accept him as such/ I said cordially. 

Finkelstein looked immensely relieved. He was 
well aware that the Eaiser did not accord him his 
complete confidence, and he must have feared that 
I had come to him, as on a former occasion, as the 
Kaiser's agent. 

'My dear Y , any friendship and assistance 

that I can give you are at your service at all times/ 
he hastened to assure me. 

'It is understood, then, is it not, that we are to 
stand by each other? If I undertake to report 
favourably of you in a certain quarter, you will gi^e 
me your confidence ? * 

' That is always understood between Secret Service 
agents who are men of honour,' the Grerman re- 

We shook hands with great warmth. 

' Now,' I said, * I can aflFord to be perfectly frank' 

Finkelstein glanced at me with the suspicion which 
such a declaration was certain to provoke. 

'I am here, this time, in the interests of Russia.' 

The Director met my eye with a look of poUte 

'Distrust has been awakened in the Russian 

^\ f. 




Council of State by this Venezuelan affair, in which 
Germany has been much too friendly with England. 
It is necessary to ascertain exactly what the Kaiser's 
views and intentions really are. He is either deceiv- 
ing the Tsar, or deceiving the English, and I have to 
find out which. For this purpose I must pass a 
night in the Emperor's private cabinet' 

'But surely that is not a difficult thing for you 
to manage,' observed Finkelstein, with evident dis- 
trust 'His Majesty trusts you implicitly, does he 

' He may trust me as a spy on you, and yet not 
confide to me his political designs,' I answered. 
' The truth is that the Kaiser is on his guard. He 
knows that he is being watched, and just now he 
distrusts everybody— his own police most of all,' I 
added pointedly. 

The Director put his hand to his head, with a 
gesture of despair. 

'It comes to this,' he cried pathetically, 'that 
unless I betray him you will report to him that I 
am a traitor!' 

'You should have thought of that before you 
accepted the money of the Duke of Heligoland,' I 
retorted, naming the Boyal exile referred to above. 

The Grerman sighed, and hung his head. 

' The Russian Government is not less wealthy than 
the Order of Assumptionists,' I added. 


Finkelstein brightened up again. A man of such 
mercurial temperament was most unfit for his 

As soon as it became a question of terms between 
us I knew that the battle was won. The Grerman 
really hated and feared Russia, like all his country- 
men, and had it been prudent to do so, I should 
have been glad to relieve his mind. 

It was an easy matter for him to make the required 
arrangements. A hint to the commander of the 
regiment which supplied the Palace guard that some 
theft had taken place, and that a detective's presence 
was necessary, was sufficient. At the hour of eleven, 
the Kaiser's time for retiring, I found myself in the 
uniform of a Prussian soldier, pacing the corridor 
which gave access to his Majesty's cabinet 

Secured from suspicion by the character in which 
I had entered the Palace, I lost no time in imlocking 
the door of the room by means of a key invented 
by myself. I must be excused from describing its 
mechanism in these pages ; but the only lock against 
which it is powerless is the familiar letter padlock. 

As soon as I was inside I closed the door again* 
I did not venture to turn on the electric light, but 
made use of a dark lantern I had brought with me, 
to explore the chamber. 

In front of me stood his Majesty's writing-table, 
covered with despatch boxe& I considered it useless 


to open them, and turned my eyes round the room 
in search of some more secret receptacle. 

At first no sign of anything of the kind I sought 
was visible. There were cupboards, but they were 
not even locked. The walls were himg with maps, 
among which my eye was particularly caught by a 
chart of the world on Mercator's projection, on which 
the various possessions of Great Britain were indi- 
cated by small red flags attached to pins. It seemed 
to me an ominous thing that such a map, so marked, 
should be ever before the eyes of the ablest Ck)n- 
tinental ruler, who was known to be feverishly at 
work building a navy fit to contend with that of 

In a reflective mood I stepped towards the map 
and looked at it. The flag which marked New 
Zealand had sagged down slightly, as though less 
firmly thrust in than the rest. Without stopping to 
think what I was doing, I took hold of the pin and 
pressed it into the wall. 

To my surprise I felt a resistance which at once 
accounted for the loose position in which I had 
found the flag. I removed one of the other pins, 
and found it went into the wall without any difficulty. 
It was therefore clear that at the particular part of 
the wall covered by New Zealand there existed some 
obstacle, probably of a metallic nature. 

Once convinced of this, I had no doubt as to my 


next step. I drew out the whole of the pins in the 
eastern portion of the chart, and rolled it back. 

I was rewarded by the sight of a dark round patch 
on the wall-paper, beneath which I could detect the 
presence of a metallic disk or knob. I pressed it 
boldly, and a square section of the wall opened out 
on a hinge, revealing a small cupboard, secured by a 
black seal showing the impress of the Emperor's 
signet, with which I was sufficiently famDiar. 

This discovery placed me in an awkward position. 
There was no time for me to coimterfeit the seal, 
and if I broke it, it was evident that Wilhelm II. 
must know that his hiding-place had been tampered 

The prudence I had shown in dealing with Finkel- 
stein was now invaluable to me. At the worst the 
Kaiser would learn that his secrets were in the hands 
of a Russian spy, and my real employer would be 
unknown. It was this reflection which emboldened 
me to proceed. 

I broke the seal, opened the cupboard, and found 
a pile of papers which I took to the writing-table to 
look through. 

The papers were enclosed in what is styled in 
Government Departments a 'jacket' — a large sheet 
of paper folded to form a cover. The outside of this 
jacket was endorsed in the Kaiser's well-known hand 
— ' European Zollverein* 


Those words told me alL The daring brain of 
Wilhelm II. had revived the idea which the great 
Napoleon embodied in his famous Milan Decrees. 
The whole of the Powers of the Continent were to 
be united in a Customs League against Great Britain, 

Russia and Austria, I saw, had eagerly welcomed 
the proposal. Spain and Turkey, with the Balkan 
States, were also committed to it So were Belgium 
and Holland, the first in revenge for British criticism 
of the Congo Free State, the second on account of 
the Boer War. Sweden and Denmark were evidently 
disinclined to the scheme, but unable to resist the 
pressure put upon them. Only three coimtries still 
held out firmly — France, Italy, and Portugal. 

The opposition of France seemed to be due partly 
to the fact that Great JBritain was her largest 
customer, and partly to dislike of any proposal 
coming from Germany. Italy and Portugal seemed 
to realise that their own fate was bound up with 
that of England, and to view with dread the prospect 
of weakening the British power. 

I had just finished reading the spirited protest 
of little Portugal, contained in a private autograph 
letter from Dom Carlos to the German Emperor, 
when the room was suddenly flashed with the full 
glare of the electric light. I looked up and saw his 
Majesty standing before me, in full uniform, with his 
sword drawn in his hand. 


I had reckoned without Wilhelm IL when I under- 
took my perilous enterprise. The colonel of the 
guard, it appeared, had reported that a detective 
had been admitted into the Palace by Finkelstein's 
request. The Kaiser had thought little of the 
matter at first, but later on his curiosity had be- 
come too strong for him, and he had decided to 
find out for himself what was going on. 

I confess that for the first and only time in my 
life I turned cold with fear, as the sudden appari- 
tion of the armed Emperor burst on my startled 

' Arrest that man ! ' he commanded, without giving 
me time to speak. 

Two soldiers advanced from the corridor and 
pinioned me by the arms. Then the Kaiser himself 
stepped forward, seized the papers I had been 
studying, and thrust them into his breast 

'Order a firing-party with ball cartridges to 
get ready in the inner courtyard,' was the next 

All this time it was evident that the Kaiser had 
not recognised me. Indeed, my disguise was so 
perfect that I felt quite secure on Uiat head. The 
question was whether it would make matters worse 
or better for me if I revealed my identity. 

'Now/ his Majesty demanded, turning to me, 
* who are you, and what are you doing here ? ' 

f I 

V i. ■ L ■ ! > 

T . 


'Does your Majesty wish me to speak before th^se 

The Kaiser hesitated. 

' Tes/ he said at last ; ' speak out/ 

I shrugged my shoulders. 

'I am here as the agent of the Federal Council/ 
I declared. The Federal Council, as most readers 
will remember, is the Senate of the German Empire. 
It represents more especially the dynasties of Bavaria, 
Saxony, and the other small kingdoms united with 
Prussia to form the modem Empire. 

Wilhelm II. started as I pronounced the name of 
this body. It is well known that his Imperial 
Majesty does not enjoy the full confidence of some of 
his satellite kings. In the army there has been a good 
deal of friction beneath the surface. It was there- 
fore not at all improbable that the lesser royalties of 
Germany should have employed a spy to detect the 
designs of their erratic and overbearing suzerain. 

* Did you tell this to Herr Finkelstein ? ' was the 
next question. 

'No, sire.' I was anxious to save the Director 
from the Imperial wrath. ' I persuaded him that I 
was your Majesty's confidential agent' 

The Kaiser glared at me, and muttered an ex- 
clamation which I need not repeat 

'How do I know that you are telling the truth 
to me, any more than you did to him ? ' he cried. 



' Your Majesty cannot know it/ I answered coldly. 
' The Council, of course, will disown me/ 

' You are a cool hand,' Wilhelm commented, gnaw- 
ing his moustache. ' It seems to me that I can do 
nothing with you, except shoot you/ 

' That will be much the simplest course/ I replied 
I saw that it would be a contest between the Em- 
peror's curiosity and his vengeance, and already I 
began to hope. 

His Majesty gave the signal, and I was led 
out into the courtyard, where I found six men 
under the command of an officer, drawn up in 

I was placed in front of them, and as I looked 
down the rifle-barrels already pointed at my heart 
I felt really nervous for a moment The scene was 
illuminated by a solitary lamp fixed over the gate- 
way, and its rays broke against the row of steel 
tubes which held death. 

' Now/ said the Kaiser, stepping close to my side, 
' tell me the truth — the real truth, mind — and I will 
spare your life.' 

I tried to think of something which Wilhelm IL 
would be likely to believe. In the meantime, I 
congratulated myself on not having disclosed my 
identity, as in that case, of course, it would not 
have occurred to his Majesty that I could be 
induced to betray my employer. 


j.' i i 


He saw that I was hesitating, and fortunately 
mistook the reason. 

' I will not only spare your life, but I will send you 
across the frontier under an escort, and let you go 
free/ his Majesty declared. 

I affected to yield reluctantly. 

'My mission is not, strictly speaking, an official 
one. I am the agent of an individual, who wishes to 
render a service to his coimtrymen, without his 
action being publicly known. Your Majesty's recent 
alliance with Great Britain to blockade Venezuela 
has aroused the fears of thoughtful American states- 
men. It is suspected that you may have other pro- 
jects in which the interests of the United States are 
concerned, and I have been instructed ' 

'By Theodore Roosevelt!' the Kaiser exclaimed, 
falling back a pace or two. 

I nodded. 

'Your Majesty has guessed the truth. The pro- 
ject which I have discovered among your papers 
does not concern the United States, and I am there- 
fore willing to undertake that it shall not be revealed 
to the President' 

' Enough,' Wilhelm II. said in subdued tones. ' I 
have passed my word.' He turned to the officer. 
'Take this man in irons to Hamburg, and place him 
on board a British vessel.' 

If I felt some compunction at the liberty I had 


taken with the name of the United States President, 
I consoled myself with the assurance that he would 
pardon me in view of the fact that I was acting in 
the interest of the mother-country. 

My escort placed me on board a steamer bound for 
Hull, with an intimation to the captain that my irons 
were not to be struck off till the ship was out of the 

The captain was naturally curious to learn who I 
was. I allowed him to suppose that I was a Pole 
banished for sedition. Fortunately, I had ample 
funds about me to defray my first-class passage, and 
I have generally found in dealing with Englishmen 
that a Bank of England note inspires more confidence 
than a testimonial from an Archbishop. 

As soon as the boat reached Hull I made the best 
of my way to Balmoral, where Lord Bedale was stay- 
ing in attendance on King Edward. 

Into his lordship's astonished ears I poured the 
whole tale of my discovery, passing over as lightly 
as possible the dangers through which I had passed. 

Lord Bedale was much moved. 

'I must thank you warmly for having kept the 

E I mean, for having kept my name out of thi& 

The Emperor would certainly have suspected that I 
was acting on King Edward's behal£' 

* It is possible,' I said drily. 

The Marquis glanced at me and we both smiled. 


'Enough!' he said. 'Remain in ihe neighbour- 
hood, and I will see you again in a day or two/ 

The next time Lord Bedale sent for me his manner 
was entirely changed. 

'Monsieur Y / he said, 'I have related the 

whole of your adventure to his Majesty, who has 
formed the highest opinion of your tact and fidelity ; 
BO much so, that he has now instructed me to offer 
you a mission on his own behalf' 

* That will be the highest honour I could receive/ 

'His Majesty's health is not yet fully recovered. 
In consequence, his physicians have advised him to 
take a sea-voyage in the early part of the year/ 

*I trust it will benefit his Majesty very greatly/ 

'The climate of the Mediterranean has been re- 

'There is no pleasanter climate at that time of 

'As his Majesty will be obliged to pass by the 
mouth of the Tagus, it will seem discourteous if he 
does not land in Lisbon, and see the King/ 

' His Majesty's courtesy is proverbial' 

' In visiting his Maltese subjects he will be so near 
Italy that King Victor may expect to see him in 

' That will be only natiu*al/ 

'In case his Majesty should feel tired of so much 
sea, he may feel it pleasanter to return overland/ 


' That will involve his passing through Paris/ 

' Exactly.' 

Portugal, Italy, France — these were the three 
States which had made a stand against the threat- 
ened alliance against the United Eangdom. I looked 
at Lord Bedale and we understood one another. 

' His Majesty proposes that you should visit each 
of these three capitals in advance, and ascertain in a 
confidential way how he is likely to be received, not 
merely by the head of the State, but by the people 
themselves — the nation.' 

* I understand.' 

'King Edward desires to be received, not with 
formal courtesy, but with the recognition due to the 
ambassador of the world's peace.' 

' I shall bear that in mind.' 

'I may add that he only defers bestowing the 
Victorian Order on you till he is able to do so in 
return for the services he now asks you to render 

There is not much more for me to add. 

In Rome, as in Lisbon, I found there was little for 
me to do ; the name of King Edward was already on 
every tongue. Even in Paris, with its jealous and 
reckless Press, I found that the British King was a 
favourite with those who were most ready to criticise 
British policy. 

I had an interview with Father Loubet, as the 


French love to call their homely peasant-President ; 
the man who has proved once more that sterling 
character counts for more in public life than rank or 
wealth or intellectual cleverness. 

Later on I had the honour of accompanying the 
ruler of Britain on his stately progress of peace. 
And as his coming was acclaimed in capital after 
capital, and the nations so long sundered by senseless 
rivalries shook hands, with their sovereigns, the 
angry Emperors realised that England's 'splendid 
isolation' was over, and that she had resumed her 
historic r6le of the champion of the weak, and pro- 
tector of the liberties of Europe. 

The glittering jewel pinned to my breast by the 
great Monarch's own hands was an unnecessary 
reward. To have served such a master was enougL 



The Humbert Case, like the Dreyfus Case, is a choae 

Th^rdse Humbert, one of the greatest women of 
the century, who united the commanding personality 
of a Catherine the Great with the genius for intrigue 
of a Catherine de Medicis, has been formally tried 
and condemned, and is now secluded from the public 
eye. The journals of the Boulevards pretend to be 
satisfied ; and their credulous readers are taught to 
believe that this remarkable affair was a vulgar 
swindle, and that the famous millions had no ex- 
istence except in the mind of the arch-intriguer. 

It is under these circumstances that I find mjrself 
at length free to make an announcement which I 
foresee must provoke a storm of denial and denun- 

/ know what has become of the Hwmhert miUioThs, 

I do not make this declaration without having 
weighed the consequences. If my part in this affair 
could be brought home to me by legal proofs, it is 



possible that I should find myself in danger of a 
penalty such as has been meted out to Madame 
Humbert herself 

I belieye, however, that I have sufficiently secured 
myself against such a contingency. For many 
months past I have been engaged in a duel of a 
singular character with the famous head of the 
French police, M. Rattache : a duel of wits, in which 
the combatants have kept on the mask of friendship, 
while exchanging thrusts and parries with an assump- 
tion of perfect imconsciousnesa 

In no step of her marvellous career, perhaps, 
did Th^r&se Humbert show more sagacity than in 
establishing relations with myself Accustomed as 
I am to act almost exclusively for crowned heads, 
or ministers of state, I was the agent least likely to 
be suspected of any connection with what wore the 
appearance of an ordinary police affiedr. 

With the same prudence which marked nearly all 
her actions, Madame Humbert refrained from coming 
to my office to engage my services, and from asking 
me to visit her. Instead, I received what appeared 
to be a casual invitation to dine with a banker, whom 
I will call Baron Y . 

Baron Y was a man whom I knew but slightly, 

but his house enjoyed a good reputation, and he moved 
in the best society of the financial world. He was 
noted for his entertainments, and therefore I was 


surprised on tliis occasion to find only three other 
persons present, besides the members of the family. 

The three other guests were M. Bas-Rivi^e, an 
ex-member of the Waldeck-Rousseau Ministry, the 
Marquis des Saintes Roches, a distinguished L^ti- 
mist, that is to say, a member of the party which 
aims at the restoration of the Bourbons, and — 
Th^r^se Humbert. 

At this time the voice of rumour was already busy 
with Madame Humbert's name ; but though assailed, 
she still maintained a bold front, and her enemies 
had not yet been able to touch her. 

It did not occur to me that her presence at the 
dinner had any significance, but I studied her with 
that interest which her reputation naturally excited 
Impassive, almost stolid in her demeanour, and speak- 
ing but little, Madame Humbert impressed me more 
than any woman I have ever met, with the single 
exception of the Dowager Empress of China. I will • 
not say that I felt awed by this extraordinary 
personage, but I recognised in her one of those 
commanding personalities which overrule all who 
are brought into touch with them. 

After dinner Baron Y led us through some of 

the rooms in his superb mansion, to view the pictures 
and curiosities which his wealth had enabled him to 
gather together. 

Somehow or other Madame Humbert contrived to 


. I- '■•■ 


fall gradually behind the rest of the party, keeping 
me by her side. I did not realise that this was a 
deliberate manoeuvre, until, just as the others were 
passing out of a small Turkish smoking-room, my 
companion abruptly laid her hand on my arm, and 
whispered in my ear — 

'Let us remain here a moment, if you please, 

Monsieur Y . I have something which I wish 

to say to you.' 

Even then it did not at first dawn on me that the 
whole entertainment had been arranged for the single 
purpose of enabling Madame Humbert to interview 
me without attracting the notice of the police, who 
were already beginning to take an interest in her 

' Let us sit down,' the custodian of the mysterious 
millions said with authority. ' What I have to say 
to you will take some time.' 

Observe, she did not admit the possibility of my 
objecting to receive her confidences. She had made 
up her mind that I was the agent necessary for her 
purpose, and it was only left to me to obey. 

I took a seat beside her without speaking. Mag- 
netised by her strange power, it did not occur to me 
to lay down any conditions in advance. 

' I am going to ask you to undertake a service of 
an unusual kind. You will run some risks, and I 
shall be obliged to trust you implicitly/ 


' Madame/ — ^I began to protest. She silenced me 
with a superb gesture. 

'I have not asked you for assurances, monsieur. 
If I have chosen you in preference to any of my 
friends, eyen men of the highest honour, like M. des 
Saintes Roches, depend upon it I know what I am 
about Do not interrupt me, but listen. In my safe 
at this moment I have notes and securities to the 
value of two hundred millions of francs.' 

Two hundred miUions ! That is to say, in English 
money, £8,000,000 ! I stared at her in amazement — 
almost in disbelief. She went 01:1 speaking with the 
most perfect composure, as if nothing out of the 
ordinary were being discussed. It was this self- 
command, this air of the commonplace with which 
she invested the most fantastic statements, which 
constituted the secret of her power. 

' This sum, which originally amounted to only one 
hundred and twenty millions, does not belong to me. 
It is a sacred deposit, intrusted to me many years 
ago, since which time the interest has steadily 

*But, then, whose V I tried to put in. But 

Madame Humbert would not permit me to speak. 

'It is useless to question me, monsieur. Think 
what you like concerning the true ownership of this 
money, but do not expect me to enlighten you. All 
that it is necessary for you to know is that these 


millions constitute a war fund, to be employed in a 
certain event, and on behalf of a cause which I was 
brought up to hold dearer than life.' 

' A war fund ! ' I could not resist exclaiming. 

My companion ignored the interruption. 

' From which it follows that the whole sum must 
always be available, at an hour's notice, in the hands 
of a trusty agent Hitherto I have been that agent ; 
but I have met with misfortunes, and a danger has 
arisen that this sum may fall into the hands of my 
private creditors.' 

She paused for a moment, and then added, in a 
less firm tone — 

' The custody of this vast sum has been my ruin. 
In order to use it to advantage I was obliged to in- 
vent all sorts of fables to account for its being in my 
possession. People insisted on treating me as a rich 
woman, they forced loans upon me ; I considered it 
permissible to borrow money on the security of this 
fortune of which I was merely the guardian; I 
managed my own affairs badly — in short I am in- 
solvent, and shaU shortly be obliged to go into 
liiding. My creditors have asked the Courts for an 
order to open the safe which contains the millions, and 
unless they are removed in time I shall have incurred 
the vengeance of those whose cause I have betrayed.' 

She shuddered. Th^r^se Humbert, the strong- 
mindedy imperturbable woman who had witnessed 


suicides committed on her account, trembled as she 
referred to this vengeance, which was so much more 
terrible to her than any penalties in the power of 
the French Courts to impose. 

' In a word, Monsieur V ,* she resumed, throw- 
ing off her momentary weakness, 'you must relieve 
me of the custody of this treasure.' 

I sat as if mesmerised while I receiyed this 
staggering proposal, which the extraordinary person- 
age beside me made in the matter-of-fact tone of one 
who is asking another to undertake the posting of a 

This woman, whom I had never seen before, who 
was beginning to be publicly branded as an adven- 
turess, and who had just confessed herself to be a 
bankrupt, if not something which the law would call 
by a harsher name — this woman calmly informed 
me that she proposed handing over to me a sum 
equal to the revenue of a kingdom, to be held, as 
far as I could see, for an unknown length of time, 
for an unknown owner, and for an unknown pur- 

If it had been any other person in the world who 
had made me such a proposition, I am certain that 
I should have laughed at it as a hoax, or, at least, 
demanded the most circumstantial details and 
assurances before going further. What was there 
about this Th6rtee Humbert, with her figure of a 


bourgeois, her expressionless face, and cold grey eye, 
which compelled me to take her seriously — which 
made me, against my judgment, submit to become 
her instrument? In the power of the human will 
there are mysteries which philosophy has not yet 

It is true that at this time Madame Humbert still 
retained the confidence of a very large section of 
society. There had, as yet, been no hint of any 
criminal proceedings against her. Even if there 
had been, moreover, she had so clearly separated 
her position as trustee of the millions from her 
private dealings, that she had convinced me that 
I could carry out her instructions with regard to 
the fund, without being guilty of any dishonesty 
towards the creditors who were proceeding against 

Be that as it may, I consented to consider the 

My companion at once set herself to extract from 
me a definite undertaking. 

' There is no time to lose,' she insisted. ' Although 
I am exhausting every legal form, in order to post- 
pone the decision, my advocate has warned me that 
I must not expect it to be delayed much longer. I 
shaU not be easy till the millions are safely in your 

'And when I have received them, what thenf 


I asked. 'Will it not be known that the sum is 
in my possession, and shall I not be exposed to pro- 
ceedings in my turn ? ' 

'That is what we have got to avoid/ was the 
answer. 'It will be necessary for you to take the 
money with the greatest secrecy. Fortimately, this 
is not an affair of bankers. The notes and bills are 
lying ready in the safe in my house, and do not 
require to be endorsed. You will not be asked for a 
receipt even.' 

I was more and more overcome by the sublime 
daring of this woman's ideas. 

'Then you simply wish me to take the fund 
from you and hold it at your disposal ? ' 

'At the disposal of those to whom it belongs/ 
Th6r^ corrected me. 'When the time comes to 
reclaim these millions I may be out of reach. That 
wiU not matter to you. All you will have to do is 
to keep the treasure in some safe hiding-place, and 
deliver it up to the first person who comes to you 
and pronounces in your ear three word&' 

She bent her lips towards me and whispered 
three words of such notable significance that I was 
left in little doubt as to the purpose for which the 
mysterious hoard was being kept in readiness. 

Although the light thus obtained served to relieve 
my mind of the fear that I was mixing in any vulgar 
swindle, yet at the same time it showed me that 


there were grave risks to be run, and that I might 
easily find myself in the meshes of the criminal 

I again asked for time to consider. Madame 
Humbert's sole reply was an offer of terms so liberal 
that it would have been quarrelling with my profes- 
sion to refuse. She smiled with grim satisfaction as 
she read in my face that I gave in. 

'Then that is settled, monsieur/ she remarked, 
preparing to risa ' I will only add that the sooner 
you get to work the better it will be for every- 

' When do you propose to hand the millions over 
to me ? ' was my natural question. 

'I do not propose to hand them over to you at 
all,' she responded coolly. ' You will take the money 
out of the safe in your own fashion, and without con- 
sulting ma' 

I gazed at her in consternation. 

' You mean that I should steal this two hundred 
millions ! ' I gasped. 

' That will be the best plan, I think,' said Madame 
Humbert with an approving nod. 

I have been concerned in some curious transac- 
tions in my time, and in some dangerous ones, but 
now I felt that I was fairly out of my depth. I 
knew that I was nothing to Th^r^se Humbert ; and 
if it suited her convenience to use me as a cat's-paw 



in the game she was playing with the authorities 
I might very well find myself in an ugly situation. 

What, for example, could be easier than for this 
accomplished intriguer to set a trap for me; have 
me arrested, perhaps, in the attempt to break into 
an empty safe, and thus establish a defence for her- 
self ? She would be able to pose as the victim of a 
robbery; and I should be held responsible for the 
disappearance of these millions whose existence was 
in dispute. 

I felt my companion's eyes fixed on my face 
in watchful scrutiny as these reflections passed 
through my mind. My decision was taken swiftly. 

' You shall hear from me in the morning, madame,' 
I said sharply, rising from my seat. ' Till then, au 

And I went out of the room, and out of ihe house, 
without giving her an opportunity to press me 

When the morning came I was seated in my 
office as usual, engaged in deciphering a confidential 
cable from the President of Colombia, when my 
secretary entered the room and informed me that a 
veiled lady, who declined to give her name, wished 
to see me in private. 

' Show Madame Humbert in^' I said, emphasising 
the name. 

The secretary, who understood what was required 




5 .£ 

2i ^ 

J J 

- 'i 



of him, went out, and immediately returned with 
the visitor. 

' Madame Humbert/ he announced with as much 
confidence as if the great Th^rese had intrusted him 
with her card. 

On the previous night Madame Humbert had 
enjoyed the superiority over me, I confess it This 
morning the tables were turned, and I had brought 
off the first catip. 

My visitor started as she heard her name, and 
threw up her veil with a gesture of astonishment 
and indignation combined. 

'Madame Humbert!' I cried, pretending to be 
equally surprised. Then, as the secretary retired, 
I added — 'This publicity, is it quite prudent, my 
dear madame ? ' 

Th6r^ gave me a glance in which I read some- 
thing like fear, as she dropped into a seat. 

'But I don't understand. Monsieur Y . I 

don't know how that young man learned who I was.' 

I shrugged my shoulders. 

'It is the business of my staff to penetrate 
mysteries, madame. But you may depend on my 
secretary's discretion. It will be awkward if the 
police have followed you here, however. If M. 
Rattache were to learn that we had been in com- 
munication, I might be obliged to withdraw from 
the caaa' 


Madame Humbert clasped her hands in agitation. 
Her demeanour was no longer that of the cold, 
masterful woman who had conversed with me in 
Baron Y 's smoking-room. 

' Listen, monsieur ! Is it possible that you do not 
guess the object of my visit ? ' 

'Unless it is to give me further instructions on 
the subject of your affair, no.' 

Th^r^se wrung her hands. 

' It is to tell you, on the contrary, that everything 
is lost At the very moment that we were talking 
together, a real robber, unknown to me, was rifling 
my safe of everything ! ' 

' You are serious, madame, I suppose ? ' 

' Serious ! ' It is impossible to describe the tragedy 
in her voice and air. 'I tell you, monsieur, that 

I left Baron Y 's vdthin an hour of speaking to 

you. I drove straight home, went to the safe, opened 
it, and found inside a button and a centime.' 


Madame Humbert gazed at me desperately. 

* You do not believe me, perhaps, monsieur ? Yet 
I swear to you as a Christian woman — I swear as a 
mother — that there were two hundred millions of 
francs in that safe when I came to dine at Baron 
Y 's.' 

' I have not the least doubt of it> madamei' 

' Then what do you suspect ? ' 


'It is clear to me that you have been robbed 

' By whom ? ' 

' By some one in your confidence, perhaps. Some 
one to whom you had confided the guardianship of 

this fimd, in which his Royal Highness the 

of is so much interested.' 

Madame Humbert glared at me in anger. 

'Tou are mocking me/ she cried fiercely. 'I 
came here to ask if you would undertake the 
recovery of this money from the thief 

'That is unnecessary, madame. All that your 
friends have to do is to approach him, and breathe 
in his ear the three words, .' 

'But if we do not know who he is!' cried the 
distracted plotter. 

' Oh, if you only require to know who he is, that 
is soon settled. I will send you the name of the 
robber on the day on which your affair terminates 
in the Courts.' 

A light began to break upon the mind of the 
excited womaa 

'Monsieur Y 1' she exclaimed. 'Is it pos- 
sible V 

I drew myself up. 

'Silence, if you please, madame. I have made 
you a promise which I shall know how to keep. In 
the meantime it is clear that we have nothing more 


to say to one another, and tliat the sooner yoa are 
out of this building the better it will be for all 

Madame Humbert rose, gave me a glance in which 
curiosity, respect, and apprehension were strangely 
mingled, and quitted my presence without Tenturing 
to say another word. 

I have neyer seen her since. 

The following day, as I entered my private room 
at the usual hour, I was conscious of a singular 
impression, in the nature of a presentiment. Some 
men possess a sense, more subtle than sight or smell, 
by means of which they are able to detect a personal 
presence, more especially one hostile to themselTes. 
I have been well served by an instinct of this kind 
on more than one occasion, and now it asserted itself 
so strongly that for an instant I believed that there 
must be some one hiding in my room. 

A glance around removed this suspicion. Every- 
thing was in its place as usual — ^was even rMyrt in 
its place than usual, if I may be permitted the 

I went to the secret drawer in which I kept the 
cipher despatches concerning the Panama affair (on 
which I was engaged about this time). 

It seemed to me that the spring worked a little 
rnore smoothly than when I had last opened the 
drawer. The papers inside lay exactly as I had 


left them oyemight Struck by a sudden thought, 
I pulled the drawer right out, lit a match, and 
examined the dusty floor of the recess. 

I was rewarded by the sight of one — two — three 
distinct prints of finger-tips in the dust 

That sight, of course, told me eyerything. My 
office had been ransacked during the night by the 
French police, and those prints had been left by 
fingers tapping in search of the hiding-place of the 
Humbert millions. 

It was a startling thing to find M. Battache so 
swiftly on my trail, and I inwardly cursed the 
imprudence which had permitted Madame Humbert 
to pay me her tell-tale visit I put on my hat and 
hurried round to the little apartment in the Quartier 
Latin which I use for appointments with persons 
whom it would be inexpedient to receive openly. 
As I expected, I found M. Rattache had been before 
ma His myrmidons had done their work no less 
thoroughly here than at my headquarters. 

I always enjoy a struggle with a foe worthy of my 
steel, and this was by no means my first bout with 
the famous detective force of Paris. On my first 
settling in Paris, their attentions to me had been 
incessant and disagreeable, and it had taken all my 
ingenuity to keep my secrets from them. By degrees 
we had drifted into a species of informal armistice, 
it bang understood, rather than agreed, that they 


abandoned the attempt to follow my proceedings^ 
while I reframed from acting against them in the 
criminal affairs with which they were chiefly con- 

Between 11 Rattache, the brilliant head of the 
force, and myself there had spnmg up a warm 
private friendship, based on mutual respect I 
knew that he would not have permitted his men 
to trouble me without pretty good grounds for so 
doing ; and this made me the more anxious. 

My first thought, after visiting the Quartier Latin, 
was for my private residenca I felt pretty sure that 
the police could not have been there in the night 
without my knowledge, and I asked myself what 
plan the fertile brain of my rival would devise in 
order to search the premises without giving me 

I hailed a fiacre, and bade the driver go to my 
house at his best speed. It was not yet eleven 
o'clock, so there was room for hope that If. Rattache 
had not begun his attack in this quarter. If he 
had, I should probably catch his men at work. 

As we drew near the street in which my house is 
situated we were overtaken by a fire-engine, which 
dashed by at a gallop. Struck by a sudden appre- 
hension, I offered my driver a golden pourbaire to 
double his speed. 

It was too late. As we drove up I beheld a thick 


black colunm of smoke issuing from my house. A 
barricade had been formed ; half a dozen fire-engines 
were drawn up in front, though it was remarkable 
that not one had yet begun to play upon the build- 
ing ; and every floor appeared to be swarming with 
firemen, who were gutting the house of everything 
it contained. 

In spite of my vexation at the sight of my mined 
home, I could not withhold my tribute of admiration 
to M. Rattache's promptness and resource. Under 
the pretence of a fire, which he had of course con- 
trived to start, and which was well under control, he 
had turned in a horde of detectives, disguised as 
firemen, with instructions to pull the building to 
pieces, if necessary, in search of the Humbert 

It was useless for me to think of interfering. I 
was stopped at the barricade by a pompous sergeant 
of police, who took down my name and address, 
rebuked me severely for my negligence in permitting 
my house to catch fire, and forbade me to interrupt 
the firemen in their benevolent labours on my behall 

Walking to and fro on the pavement, and scrutin- 
ising every article brought out from the building by 
his assistants, I perceived M. Rattache himself In 
a minute he caught sight of me, and came towards 
me with extended arms. 

He knew, of course, that I thoroughly understood 


the guna Nererthdeas, his expiessioii of 8ynipa» 
thetic distren was perfect 

'My dear Y ! What an unlacky chaneel 

Bdiold me OYerwfaelmed with grief at your mia- 

'You are too good/ I returned drily. 'There is 
nothing of any value in the house, I am glad to say. 
This accident will merely give me the annoyance of 
sleeping in a hotel for the next few nighta' 

' Do not say that, my dear colleague/ M. Rattadie 
responded eagerly. 'You will confer a real favour 
on me by consenting to accept my hospitality for a 
short time, till your house is ready for you again.' 

I glanced at him with suspicion. Did this mean 
that I was to be under arrest? 

' I cannot thank you sufficiently for such kindness/ 
was my answer. 'Sut I am a&aid I should cause 
you too much inconvenience. My hours are very 
irregular; sometimes it is necessary for me to be at 
my office in the middle of the night' 

'Do not let yourself be restrained by such con- 
siderations/ he replied earnestly. ' You shall be as 
free as if you were under your own roof/ 

It would have been ungracious to persist in my 
refusal, especially as I femcied from M. Rattache's 
tone that he had already come to the conclusion 
that his raid on my house was a mistake, and really 
regretted the inconvenience he had caused ma 


On the whole, the arrangement was not such a 
bad one for ma While I should have been exposed 
to the surveillance of my antagonist in any case, 
this plan would place him under mine. We should 
be like the combatants in the holmgang, who were 
strapped together, and placed on a small island, to 
hack each other to pieces with knives. 

I moved into my new quarters the same day, some 
of my personal baggage being brought round by the 
pretended firemen, who must have wondered to see 
me on such terms with their chief. Rattache pre- 
sented me to his wife, a most charming woman with 
three little daughters, whose hearts I immediately 
won by organising all sorts of games at blindman's 
buff and hide-and-seek. 

During the next few days I received cipher wires 
from my various agents abroad, informing me that 
their apartments had been searched, and that they 
were being shadowed by unknown men. 

I was pleased with these despatches, which proved 
to me that my men were on the alert I sent 
encouraging replies, and persuaded Madame Rattache 
to accompany me to the theatra 

I had already visited a Turkish bath in company 
with my host, in order to afford him every &cility 
for ascertaining that I was not carrying any portion 
of the £8,000,000 on my person. 

At the end of a month my house was in perfect 


order again. M. Rattache was beginning to feel a 
little uneasy, perhaps, at my great progress in the 
friendship of madame, for he raised no objection 
when I proposed to bring my stay with him to a 
close. The little girls were in despair at my going, 
and Madame Rattache earnestly pressed me to come 
and see them frequently. 

Months passed away, and France and Europe were 
absorbed in learning of the sudden flight of the 
Humberts, the discovery of the empty safe, the 
capture of the fugitives, and the trial and sentence 
of the majestic Th^r^. 

As she was leaving the dock at the end of the 
case, one of the warders slipped into her hand a 
piece of paper which contained simply my initials — 

I had gone straight from Baron Y 's house, 

at ihe end of our conversation, to the Humbert 
mansion, gained admittance by means of the 
master-key which I usually carry about me, opened 
the safe without the least difficulty, and carried off 
its contents — all before Madame Humbert had left 
the Baron's door. 

This instantaneous action, which I had considered 
necessary for my own protection, turned out to be 
the best possible course for the safety of the millions. 
Now I had redeemed my promise to Madame Hum- 
bert, by admitting that I was in possession of the 

" The chief deleetive came cIdss up to me, put hh mouth to my ear, 
an J nliii|ierrd. ' I^ draprau Ham !' " 


lost treasure, and I waited confidently for the person 
who should come to claim it. 

Exactly two days afterwards I was surprised by 
a visit from M. Rattache, whom I had not seen for 
some time, a slight coolness having resulted from 
his abortive efforts to surprise my secret 

The chief detective, instead of taking the chair I 
offered him, came close up to me, put his mouth to 
my ear, and whispered : ' Le drapea/u, Uanc ! ' 

The white flag ! Is there any English reader who 
does not know that in France the white flag signifies 
the ancient standard of the Valois and the Bourbons 
— the inseparable emblem of Legitimist royalty, which 
the Comte de Chambord refused to exchange for the 
Revolutionary tricolor, even to obtain the throne ? 

I stared at M. Rattache, confounded to find in 
the head of the Republican police the confidential 
agent of the Monarchists. 

He enjoyed my astonishment for a minute in 
silence. Then he said aloud — 

' Now, my dear V , perhaps you will reveal to 

me the secret of that hiding-place which has baffled 
the efforts of my best men for so long.' 

I smiled quietly as I took up my hat 

'On first receiving this fund I simply put the 
notes and bills in a registered parcel and sent it 
to my agent in Brussels, with instructions to put it 
in a fresh cover and send it to and &o through the 


post tin forther noticeL But on finding that you 
were interested in my correspondence I naturally 
adopted another pUuL I will take you at once to 
the spot where I haye deposited these millions, 
which I shall not be sorry to get rid of/ 

I led the way out into the street, called a fiacre, 
and whispered an address into the driver's ear. 

It was my turn to enjoy the discomfiture of my 
colleague, as the carriage drew up before his own 

* Here ! ' was aU he could gasp. 

I paid the driver and dismissed him. 

' Surely there could be no spot more safe from the 
perquisitions of the police,' I answered mockingly. 

IL Rattache conducted me in, and led the way 
towards his study. 

'Not that way/ I objected. 'It is necessary for 
us to go upstairs.' 

With ever-deepening chagrin M. Rattache followed 
me, as I ascended to the schoolroom in which his 
little daughters were at play with their dolls. 

They rushed to embrace me with exclamations of 


' Isabel,' I said to the eldest, a bright ^1 of twelve, 
'now you shall show the others the hiding-place 
where we put the box of bricks.' 

A cry of delight greeted this proposal Isabel ran 
oaily in front to lead the party into her own little 



bedroom, where, under a loose plank, which this 
observant child had discovered, and the knowledge 
of which she had kept to herself with that marvellous 
secrecy of which children are sometimes capable, 
lay — the Humbert millions ! 

Isabel was a little disappointed to find, when the 
box was opened, that her bricks had been changed 
into stupid pieces of paper. But I explained that a 
fairy had been at work, and that a new and better 
set of bricks would arrive by the next post 

And so, I am relieved to say, terminated my con- 
nection with the Humbert Case. 


I MUST be pardoned if I exercise a certain reserve 
in telling the story of the most delicate of all the 
affairs in which I have been engaged. While the 
interests concerned were, in their own nature, purely 
political, the fact that they centred round the 
spiritual Head of Christendom imposes on me re- 
straints which I am bound to recognise. 

I cannot recall at this moment whether, in the 
course of these reminiscences, I have had occasion 
to mention that I was honoured on several occasions 
by the confidence of the illustrious Pontiff who, in 
the course of less than a generation, exalted the 
Papacy to a height of power and reverent esteem 
such as it had scarcely enjoyed since the Middle 

To me, as to all who have paid any attention to 
the history of their own times, the passing away of 
Leo XIII. marked an epoch in the history of the 
world. I was in Paris, awaiting the announcement 
which would plunge two continents into mourning, 


when, an hour before the fatal bulletin reached the 
newspaper offices, I received a despatch desiring me 
to start immediately for Rome, and wait upon the 
young King of Italy in the Palace of the QuirinaL 

Whether in consequence of my connection with 
the Vatican or not, it happened that I had never 
been directly employed in the service of the House 
of Savoy. I have told the story of my unavailing 
efforts to save the life of King Humbert; but on 
that occasion I acted as the agent of the friendly 
monarch of another country. 

During my journey to Rome in obedience to the 
royal summons, my mind was deeply exercised by 
the problem presented by the disastrous breach 
between the Italian Kingship and the Papacy. 

When the troops of Victor Emmanuel I., thirty-four 
years ago, marched into the City of the Popes, to 
make it the capital of United Italy, no one foresaw 
the difficulties which would flow from the refusal 
of the Popes to abandon their rights as the tem- 
poral Sovereigns of Rome and the States of the 

Other dethroned sovereigpis have fled from their 
lost dominions, and gradually sunk out of sight But 
the Popes, seated in the Vatican, and solemnly ex- 
communicating the dynasty which has displaced 
them, have, rendered insecure the whole fabric of 
the Italian monarchy. 



I myself, divided between my political sympathies 
as an American citizen, and my loyalty as a Catholic 
to the Head of my Church, had often sought in vain 
for some way of reconciling the venerable rights of 
the Chair of Peter with the patriotic aspirations of 
the Italian people. 

The various solutions put forward from time to 
time, such as the cession to the Pope of a small slice 
of territory including the Vatican, seemed to me 
inadequate and mean. Some loftier treatment of 
the situation seemed to be called for, but no states- 
man, ecclesiastical or secular, had yet been foimd 
to propose it 

Now, with the accession of a new Pope, it was 
possible to indulge hopes of a new policy. I en- 
couraged myself to believe that Victor Emmanuel II. 
had sent for me that I might assist him in such an 

The character of this young ruler had already 
aroused my interest and curiosity. In his father's 
lifetime he was imknown to the public until he sud- 
denly stepped into the foreground, at the time of the 
Abyssinian disasters, as the determined opponent of 
Crispins policy of adventure, and the champion of 

Since his accession he had won golden opinions by 
his modesty, benevolence, and practical energy in the 
work of government. But he had as yet given no 


indications of any marked individuality or policy of 
his own. 

Within an hour of my arrival in Rome I found 
myself in his Majesty's presence. 

His reception of me was not merely gracious but 
cordial. In a few well-chosen words he thanked 
me for my services at the time of the tragedy of 

'I believe you have been employed in the secret 
service of the Vatican ? ' King Victor proceeded. 

I bowed again. 

'Will you tell me whether that constitutes any 
obstacle to your serving me ? * he inquired. 

I hesitated. 

' I should feel embarrassed if your Majesty were to 
ask me to act agaimst the Vatican/ I ventured to 

' But suppose I were to ask you to undertake the 
office of mediator, to promote a reconciliation between 
the Papacy and the Italian nation ? ' 

'Then, sire, you would be offering me the task 
which I covet above all others, and which I should 
feel to be the crown of my career.' 

The young King made a gesture of delight. 

' That is fortunate indeed I Listen, monsieur i 
From a boy my heart has bled at the thought of this 
miserable estrangement, so fraught with danger to the 
cause of religion as well as to the national freedom. 


In addition I must tell you that I feel very deeply my 
own position. I have a conviction that our House 
cannot prosper while it remains under the curse of 
the Church. 

' As far as I am concerned/ Victor Enunanuel went 
on, ' there is no sacrifice I am not prepared to make, 
even to the laying down of my crown, in order to win 
the forgiveness of the Holy See, and to establish 
good relations between the Church and the natioa 
But I need not say that I can do nothing by myself 
Unless I can succeed in carrying the Parliament and 
the people with me, I should simply make things 
worse than they are at present.' 

His Majesty paused for a minute, and then 
resumed, watching my face anxiously. 

' I have been seeking for years for some means of 
appeasii:^ the Holy Father that would not be rejected 
by the secular politicians. And the plan which has 
developed itself in my mind is this : — 

' In the Middle Ages, perhaps I need not remind 
you, the Popes enjoyed but a scanty authority in the 
Roman States. Their authority was defied by the 
usurping barons, and even in the City of Rome they 
frequently saw authority exercised by the senate and 
people. Yet at the very same epoch they were 
wielding tremendous powers over Europe ; they were 
able to dethrone emperors ; a King of England laid 
down his crown at the feet of a Papal Legate ; and 


the Kings of Naples acknowledged the suzerainty of 
the Popes by an annual tribute.' 

I began to see what was coming, and testified my 
admiration by a glance. 

'I propose/ King Victor said impressively, 'to 
acknowledge the Holy Father as the suzerain of the 
Italian kingdom. I am prepared to lay my crown at 
his feet, and to receive it again as his gift. I propose 
to hold myself as the vassal of his Holiness, to pay 
a tribute, instead of the pension which has been 
refused, and to exercise my power of veto over legis- 
lation in obedience to the Pope's directions. In 
short, I am willing to efface myself, and to govern 
Italy as the deputy of the Holy See.' 

I listened with deep emotion to the noble young 
King as he unfolded his scheme, a scheme in which 
it was evident that he intended himself to be the 
sacrifice which would procure peace. At the same 
time I perceived certain difficulties in the way. The 
successors of St. Peter, in modem times at aU events, 
had been accustomed to rule over their limited 
dominions as absolute monarchs. Was it to be hoped 
that they would consent to accept a constitutional 
authority in exchange, even though that authority 
extended over the whole peninsula ? 

Tet the See of Rome, as suzerain of Italy, would 
be able to re-enter the field of international politics 
as a great Power. Alliances might follow which 


would place the Pope in the position of president 
over a great Catholic league embracing Austria, 
Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and possibly France as 
well, to say nothing of the powerful leverage which 
the Church was able to exercise over the policy of 
semi-Catholic powers, such as Germany, Great Britain, 
and the United States. 

'Carried away by these dazzling visions, I ex- 
claimed aloud — 

* I believe in your Majesty I If only the new Pope 
will accept your plans ! ' 

King Victor flushed with gratification at my out- 

' That is the task I am going to intrust to you,' 
he announced. 'I have made careful inquiries, 
and I believe there is one Cardinal who, if he 
were elected, would be likely to welcome my over- 

' And his name, sire ? ' 

' Cardinal Sarto, the Patriarch - Archbishop of 

My face felL I had scarcely heard of his Eminence 
of Venice by name. Certainly he was not among 
those cardinals — the Papdbili, as they are termed— 
whose candidature was taken seriously by the ecclesi- 
astical politicians of the Vatican. 

'Is Cardinal Sarto a possible candidate, aire?' I 
ventured to object 


' You must make him so/ King Victor said 
earnestly. ' I rely on you to secure his election.' 

Although not lacking in self-confidence, I shrank 
before this tremendous task. Apart from my 
scruples as a Catholic — and I was by no means sure 
how £eu- it was lawful for a layman to interfere in a 
Papal election — I doubted my power to influence the 
choice of the Sacred College in the short time at my 

' In ten days from now the Conclave will begin/ I 
murmured reflectively. 

' I know it/ broke in Victor EmmanueL ' I want 
you to be present in the Conclave as my secret 

I trembled. The secrecy of the Conclave is guarded 
with the greatest care. In what way could I possibly 
gain admission to the private deliberations of the 
Cardinals ? 

The King answered my unspoken doubts. 

* In ten days the Cardinals will enter the Conclave, 
each with a single attendant, and the door will be 
walled up, not to be reopened until Christendom 
again has a Pope. It is necessary for you to be inside 
that walled-up door/ 

' I must enter in the character of attendant to one 
of the Cardinals ! ' I exclaimed. 

' You must enter as the servant of Cardinal Salva- 
tierra,' his Majesty declared. 


I frowned slightly. It seemed to me that my 
employer, in his enthusiasm, was going a little too 
fast. I did not like having so much arranged for me 
in advance. This Cardinal Salvatierra, who was he ; 
and in what way had he come to lend himself to the 
purpose of the King of Italy ? 

' Does the Cardinal enjoy your Majesty'sconfidence?' 
I asked drily. 

' Not in the sense that you do, Monsieur V * 

the King answered 'Salvatierra is one of the 
ornamental members of the College. He is a scholar 
and antiquarian, not a Churchman or politiciaa. His 
collection of intaglios is said to be the ^est in 

' May I venture to ask how much his Eminence 
has been told ? ' 

* Only that I desire the election of a Pope who will 
be well disposed towards Italy. It has always been 
customary for the Sacred College to receive repre- 
sentations from the Catholic Powers of their views 
and wishes on the subject of Papal election. The 
only irregularity in this case is that, as the Italian 
kingdom is not recognised by the Papacy, I can only 
communicate with the College indirectly.' 

I listened to his Majesty with considerable inward 
misgiving. I was more than a little afraid of the 
guilt I might be incurring by entering the Conclavei 
At the same time I told myself that Cardinal Salva- 

" I found the Cardinal nlHorbed in the iiih|iei!ti[)n of his newly 


tierra had a right to introduce whom he pleased as 
his attendant ; and if he was satisfied to take me, it 
was not for me to raise objections. 

After some further conversation with his Majesty, 
I retired to a hotel and effected a transformation 
which gave me the appearance of a respectable upper 
servant, such as a steward or valet, in an Italian 
noble family. Thus attired, I made my way roimd 
to the Salvatierra Palace, and sent up my name to 
his Eminence as Jacopo Luigi. 

' I doubt if his Eminence will receive you to-night,' 
the porter informed me. ' A case of exquisite cameos 
of untold value has just arrived for his collection — a 
gift from some great personage, I believe; and his 
Eminence is hard at work unpacking them.' 

I had my own suspicion as to the source of this 
truly regal offering, and felt more than ever uneasy as 
to the lawfulness of my proceedings. 

However, it was not long before a message came 
down that I was to go up and wait upon his Eminence 

I found the Cardinal absorbed in the inspection 
of his newly arrived treasures. Holding a delicate 
camel's-hair brush in one hand, he was going over 
the cameos, carefully removing every speck of dust 
and holding them up to the light in search of possible 

His Eminence was a tall, stately personage, refined 


and ascetic in feature, with a Ceided blue eye which 
fell on me with an expression of the most complete 

'You are Jacopo Luigi/ he observed, glancing 
towards a letter which lay open on a pier-table. 
'My nephew, Count Baldachino, recommends you 
to me very strongly. He says' — the Cardinal in- 
terrupted himself to scrutinise a fresh gem with the 
minutest care — ' he says that you are thoroughly dis- 
creet and faithfuL You understand the particular 
necessity for discretion in my service, no doubt?' 

He took his eye off the cameo for an instant, to 
dart a glance- at me, so keen and penetrating that it 
was as if a hidden man had suddenly sprung to the 
window and looked out. Before I could respond, the 
Cardinal's back was turned to me again, and he was 
dusting away harder than ever. 

' I perfectly understand. Eminence,' I muttered. 

'That is quite right, then. I take you into my 
service. At a salary of 800 lire. Introduce yoiirself 
to the master of my household.' 

These sentences were punctuated by eager move- 
ments, as his Eminence proceeded in his examination 
of the newly arrived treasures. 

I waited for more, but finding that the Cardinal 
had apparently forgotten my presence, in his anti- 
quarian enthusiasm, I moved towards the door and 


I need not describe the household. I found myself 
received at first with the jealousy natur^ on the part 
of old servants towards a new comer, but I soon got 
on good terms with those whom I wished to con- 

From the gossip of the servants' hall I gathered 
many important hints about the forthcoming election. 

Had merit only been considered, the long and im- 
portant services of Cardinal Rampolla would have 
given him a paramount claim on the tiara. But his 
strength of character had aroused the dread of those 
Cardinals who consider that a weak Pope means a 
powerful College, and vice verad. 

Various other names were being talked about as 
popular candidates, but among them I did not once 
catch that of King Victor's nominee, the saintly, 
simple-hearted Archbishop of Venice. 

Each of the two great Mendicant Orders, the 
Dominicans and Franciscans, had its favourite, for 
whom the brethren were eagerly working. But I 
coidd not learn the name of any Cardinal who was 
being supported by the ubiquitous and powerful 
Company of Jesus. 

This was in itself a suspicious sign. The jealousy 
— ^perhaps I ought to say the fear — of the Jesuits 
entertained by the ordinary hierarchy of the Church 
is so intense that in all probability if the Jesuits had 
shown their hand by openly supporting a particular 


Cardinal, that would have been enough to ensure his 

I could only surmise that they were working in 
the dark, or, perhaps, waiting for the opportunity to 
intervene and turn the scale between the final candi* 

As soon as the obsequies of Leo XIII. had been 
duly performed, the Cardinals in solemn procession 
entered the Hall of the Conclave, and the doors were 

Inside the vast chamber a small wooden cell, just 
large enough to contain a narrow bed and a chair, had 
been erected for the accommodation of each Cardinal. 

The occupation of these tiny compartments was 
decided by lot, so it will be understood that I ex- 
perienced a sensation of uneasy surprise on finding 
that Cardinal Salvatierra had obtained the cubicle 
adjoining that of the Patriarch of Venice. 

I do not feel myself at liberty to violate the secrecy 
of the Conclave by relating minutely the steps which 
I took to secure support for Cardinal Sarto. I ob- 
tained a few votes in the first ballot, but not enough 
to afford any promise of ultimate success. 

Cardinal Rampolla struck his first and last blow. 
He polled his fiill number of votes, and fell short of 
the requisite two-thirds majority. Then realising that 
the jealousy of his great powers was too strong to be 
overcome, he retired firom the contest. 


This left the field open to the two rival Mendicant 
Orders. Their nominees, whom I think it more 
respectful not to name, polled vote for vote, but 
neither could command anything like the number of 
suffirages required. 

It appeared likely that the Conclave wou^d last 
some time. In the second ballot I was surprised 
to find that a fair number of votes was given to 
my supposed master. Cardinal Salvatierra appeared 
equally surprised, and a little annoyed by this cir- 

'I wish they would ignore me,' he said testily, 
when I brought him his dinner. ' They know I am 
not a possible Pope, and they will injure me with the 
successful candidate.' 

I said nothing, but an idea was already germinating 
in my mind. Before the next scrutiny I waited with 
the utmost secrecy upon the two Cardinals who were 
managing the election on behalf of the Dominicans 
and Franciscans respectively. 

To each of their Eminences I said practically the 
same thing. 

'Tou cannot succeed in carrying your nominee. 
Neither can your rivala Meanwhile the Jesuits are 
secretly preparing to gather in the scattered votes 
and concentrate them on their own candidate.' 

< Who is that ? ' was the eager question I received 
in each case. 


'You will see in the next scrutiny. Unless you 
stand firm, and refuse to accede, you will have a 
Jesuit Pope.' 

This threat was necessary, because when a candi- 
date obtains so large a proportion of votes as to make 
his election seem certain at the next ballot, it is a 
very usual thing for the supporters of the beaten 
candidates to go over at once, in order to have the 
credit of voting for the new Pope. 

The next scrutiny was taken. The name of Sal- 
vatierra came out high upon the list, wanting only 
four votes of the two- thirds majority. The Franciscan 
and Dominican Cardinals stood firm. But the un- 
suspecting Archbishop of Venice, who did not dream 
that his own candidature was anything but a side 
manoeuvre, earnestly implored his own few supporters 
to accede to Salvatierra, and thus complete the election 
of a Popa 

Fortunately I had anticipated this action on his 
part, and had obtained the most binding pledges 
from the few Cardinals^ I had won over. There was 
no election, and Salvatierra returned to his cell, 
unable to conceal his mortification. 

' Luigi,' he said to me that night, ' you have seen 
how things are going. Against my will I am 
destined to receive the tiara. This places us both 
in a different position. You have done your best 
to serve the personage who desired me to take you 


into my service, and it is not your fault that you 
have failed to secure the election of a pro-Italian 
Cardinal Now I can place it in your power to 
achieve the same end by another means. If you 
will give me the King's votes in the next ballot, 
I will pledge myself to negotiate in a friendly and 
liberal spirit for the settlement of the differences 
between the Papacy and the Kingdom/ 

'Tour Eminence can escape from the burden of 
the triple crown/ I replied, with affected simplicity, 
'by causing your own supporters to accede to any 
one of the other candidates/ 

'Tou mean to Cardinal Sarto,' his Eminence re- 
torted. ' You do not suppose that my friends would 
elect a Dominican or Franciscan puppet? Let me 

warn you, my dear Signer Luigi, or Monsieur V , 

that the Cardinal on whom your master places his 
reliance, is not strong enough to carry out the 
reconciliation you desire. Guiseppe Sarto is a saint, 
not a statesman.' 

I felt there was some truth in this warning, but 
I had my instructions, and I could not in this 
case look beyond them. I promised to weigh his 
Eminence's words, and retired to sound the feeling 
of the Conclave. 

I found that the election was already virtually 
decided. The extraordinary leap upward of Salva- 
tierra, following on my warning, had convinced the 


two Mendicant Orders of their danger. They had 
communicated their own fears and suspicions to the 
rest of the College, and the fatal whisper — 'The 
Jesuit candidate ' — ^had already run round the Con- 
clave. The two Orders having agreed to withdraw 
their champions, there remained only one candidate 
in the field. 

At the next ballot Cardinal Sarto, the nominee of 
the excommunicated King of Italy, was triumphantly 
elected Pope. 

The amazement of the saintly prelate, who had 
remained in profoimd ignorance of the whole of the 
negotiations and intrigues, softened the hearts of 
even his rivals, and convinced the most worldly- 
minded of the electors that they had involuntarily 
made the right choice. 

Salvatierra was the first to offer the kiss of 
homage to his new sovereign. His Eminence's 
parting words to myself as we quitted the Conclave 
made me fear that my triumph was more apparent 
than real. 

'You have chosen the White Pope, Monsieur 

V , It remains to see how you will fare at the 

hands of the Black Pope.' 

He returned to his palace and his curiosities, to 
all appearance well contented to resume his r^le 
of harmless antiquary. 

But I did not doubt that a full report of all that 


had passed would be laid at once before the for- 
midable personage with whose opposition he had 
threatened me. 

In a villa a short distance outside the walls of 
Rome resides an ascetic recluse, never seen in any 
public ceremonies, visited only from time to time 
by a few quietly dressed priests and laymen, to all 
appearance as insignificant as himself. This is the 
Black Pope — in other words, the General of the 
Company of Jesus. 

. Very soon after the election of Pius X. I applied 
for and obtained a private interview with his 

My previous connection with the secret service of 
the Vatican rendered this easy. 

To no one but the Holy Father himself did I 
intend to reveal my character as the agent of Victor 
Emmanuel II. 

So great was my veneration for the Vicar of Christ, 
so intense my admiration for the personal character 
of the new Pope, that I had determined never to 
confess to his Holiness the part which I had played 
in his election, lest his wrath should fall upon me in 

As I knelt before Pius X. in the small and simply 
furnished room in which he had chosen to install 
himself, I saw his eye fall on me with an expression 
of pity and curiosity. 



' You do well to kneel, my son/ the Holy Father 
said, in a low, gentle voice. ' You have erred very 

I looked up in astonishment. Pius X. 
pointed to a small table which stood beside his 

' What do you see there ? ' he asked, preserving the 
same tone of mild reproof. 

I glanced at the table, and beheld a portion of 
a railway ticket. 

'When I left Venice a fortnight ago, I took a 
return ticket,' the Pope continued. ' What you see 
is the half which I am never going to usa Take it. 
It will be a souvenir for you, and may remind you 
to beware of the vanity of meddling in spiritual 

Amazed by this form of address, I rose from my 
knees, and respectfully possessed myself of the 
precious keepsake, which I thrust into my inmost 

* I came to Rome,' the Holy Father pursued calmly, 
' without other hope or ambition than to record my 
vote for the most worthy member of the Sacred 
College. Even had I wished to be Pope I should 
not have been presumptuous enough to put myself 
forward as a candidate for the Chair of Saint 

'It appears that there were others, with more 

" Saddened and iulxlued, I ijuiired ihe audience chamber of Pius X." 



worldly motives, who entertained ambitions of the 
kind. For my part, when I learned that some 
Cardinals had recorded their votes for me I had 
no feeling but one of surprise and chagrin. I 
suspected that I was being used as a stalking- 
horse on behalf of others. I could not dream that 
a layman had dared to interfere in the election 
at the bidding of a usurper who is outside the 
pale of Christian fellowship, under the curse of 
the Church ! ' 

I trembled as I perceived that some one had been 
beforehand with me, and had narrated my proceed- 
ings to his Holiness, no doubt with a gloss which 
had caused Pius X. to take the worst view of my 

'Fortunately your rash and evil designs were 
overruled for good. Unknown to yourself, you 
were an instrument in the hands of others. While 
you were watching you were watched. Pious and 
vigilant men, the faithful soldiers of the Church 
Militant, who had no object of their own to serve, 
and who only sought the good of the Church, 
were aware all along of your proceedings, your 
true employer, and his secret aims. You sought 
to place in the Chair of Peter an obedient tool 
of the House of Savoy. The watchful guardians 
of the Church resolved that you should be instru- 
mental in the elevation of one who, however 


unworthy, is at least free from the passion of worldly 

I would fain have spoken, but the Holy Father 
imposed silence on me by a stem gestura 

'The candidature of his Eminence Cardinal 
Salvatierra was a ruse, to which the zealous persons 
I speak of were obliged to resort, in order to throw 
dust in your eyes. From the first they had deter- 
mined to ensure my election, if it could be brought 
about without using improper means of influencing 
the Sacred College. They checkmated you, without 
your perceiving it. 

'Now you may go and tell the rash young King 
who used you as his agent that his designs have 
miscarried. I sit here, neither his nominee nor 
his creature, but the duly chosen Head of the 
Roman Church, and I call upon him to retire 
from the territories bestowed upon the Church by 

I listened with feelings of stupefaction and despair. 
The story which had been told the Pope was so nearly 
true that I had no scope for contradiction; it had 
been so skilfully coloured that I realised that any 
attempt at explanation or denial would fail of its 

In fact I had been guilty of very nearly what I 
stood accused of. The reproaches of Pius X. were 
an echo of the whispers of my conscience. I had 


elected a Pope, but my presumption in doing so 
had made that very Pope an enemy of the sovereign 
whom I had served too well 

'Will your Holiness condescend to hear me?' I 
implored. * The Jesuits ' 

'Silence!' his Holiness commanded. 'I will not 
listen to a word against those devoted men, whose 
value, and whose loyalty to the Holy See, I now 
understand for the first time. If your master, the 
King of Sardinia,^ desires to learn the conditions 
on which he may obtain his pardon from the Holy 
See, I advise him to apply to — Cardinal Salvatierra.' 

Cardinal Salvatierra ! I recalled the Cardinals 
parting words — * You have chosen the White Pope ; 
it remains to see how you will fare at the hands 
of the Black Pope.' 

Saddened and subdued, I quitted the audience- 
chamber of Pius X., and repaired to that of Victor 
Emmanuel II. 

'I have carried out your Majesty's instructions. 
Cardinal Sarto is the new Pope. And now I can 
only render one more service to your Majesty, and 
that is ' 

' And that is ? ' the King exclaimed. 

' To advise you to make your peace with the Black 
Pope ! ' 

^ The title of King of Italy i« not reoognised by the Vatican. — 



I prefer to say no more. It would be imprudent 
on my part to embarrass a situation already bristling 
with difficulties, by indicating the steps which still 
remain to be taken before peace can be restored 
between the two mighty powers represented by the 
Vatican and the QuirinaL 

-- .. v.-